When you are in an abusive relationship, it can be difficult to see a way out. You may feel like you are all alone and that there is no one who can help you. However, protection from abuse orders (PFA orders) exist to protect victims of domestic violence and their families and help them reach safety from their abuser. In this blog post, our domestic violence attorneys at Shemtob Draganosky Taylor will discuss the initial impacts of a PFA order in Pennsylvania, how you can file for a PFA, and why this can help you as you navigate finding safety for your family. We will also share how a Shemtob Draganosky Taylor attorney can help you through this difficult process and support you as you file and obtain a PFA.
Protection From Abuse Orders (PFA Orders)
If you are a victim of domestic violence, it is important to know that you are not alone and there are ways to protect yourself and your family. A protection from abuse order (PFA) is one way you can do this. A PFA is a civil order issued by a judge that orders an abuser to stop the abuse and have no contact with the victim. The abuser is also ordered to stay away from the victim’s home, work, school, or any other place where the victim may be.
Two Types of PFA Orders
In Pennsylvania, there are two types of protection from abuse orders: ex parte and final protection from abuse orders. An ex parte protection from abuse order is a temporary emergency order that is granted without the abuser being present. This type of order can be issued if it is believed that you are in immediate danger of abuse. An ex parte order is temporary and only remains in place until the case can be heard by a judge. A final protection from abuse order is issued after a hearing where both the victim and the abuser have the opportunity to present their side of the story to the judge.
How to File for a Protection From Abuse Order
If you are in immediate danger, you can go to your local domestic relations office, district court, or county courthouse to file for protection from abuse. When you file for protection from abuse, a judge will review your petition and decide whether or not to issue a temporary ex parte protection order. If the judge decides to issue the order, it will be served on the abuser by the sheriff. The order will then be in effect until the matter is scheduled for hearing. A hearing will generally be scheduled within ten days, at which both you and the abuser will have the opportunity to present your side of the story to the judge. After the hearing, the judge will decide whether or not to issue a final protection from abuse order. If the judge decides to issue the order, it will be in effect for a period of time specified by the judge, usually between six months and three years.
If you have retained a domestic violence attorney, they can help you file for a PFA order, prepare for your court hearing, and represent you in court the hearing for the final protection from abuse order.
Why a Protection From Abuse Order Can Help You
Taking the first step to safety can be dangerous for some. However, a PFA order can provide some safeguards. With a PFA order, you can gain protection from further abuse, and stay in your home.
PFA orders also give you the legal right to:
● Remove the abuser from your home
● Get temporary custody of your children
● Prevent the abuser from buying, owning, or having a gun
● Make the abuser pay temporary child support and alimony
If you believe that you or your children are in danger, contact a trusted domestic violence attorney to learn more about how they can help you seek safety.
Strategic. Focused. Shemtob Draganosky Taylor.
The process of filing for a protection from abuse order can be complicated and confusing. Attending a hearing to obtain a final order can be overwhelming and challenging. A family law attorney with experience in domestic violence cases can help you navigate this process and ensure that your rights are protected. They can also provide you with the support and resources you need to keep yourself and your family safe.
If you are in Pennsylvania and need help filing for a protection from abuse order, please contact our office at Shemtob Draganosky Taylor. We have experience helping victims of domestic violence seek safety for themselves and their families, and we are here to help you. Call us today at (215) 544-3974 to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced domestic violence attorneys. We are here to help you through this difficult time.