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Chester County Domestic Violence Victim Lawyer

Legal Help for Chester County Domestic Violence Victims

Abuse is never okay.

People in abusive relationships tend to feel like they are alone, and do not know what will happen to their livelihood if they leave their abusive partner. It is important for people undergoing domestic violence to know that the law is on their side in Pennsylvania.

There are steps you can take to leave the toxic relationship and ensure that you and your children are safe. If you need help now, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-7233. If you wish to speak to a Chester County family law lawyer who has handled many domestic violence cases, please call the Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C., at (610) 645-0100 for a free consultation. We are here to protect local families.

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How Abusers Use Finances to Control Victims

All abuse is not physical, and in most cases, it doesn’t start out that way. Most of the time it starts out with control. A partner may attempt to control you financially by refusing to let you work, not giving you full access to bank accounts, or putting you on an allowance. Since you will not have a way to support yourself outside of the relationship, the abuser keeps you there; however, Pennsylvania law does not tolerate this behavior.

If you are divorcing a spouse because of abuse and you were not employed, you are still entitled to assets from the marriage, such as the house, personal property, child custody, bank accounts, retirement accounts, and stocks. Don’t let anything hold you back from leaving an abusive situation. With the right plan and lawyer by your side, the transition will go a lot smoother.

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Getting Out of an Abusive Marriage in Chester County

After you have removed yourself from the situation, it is important to file a restraining order against your abuser, called a Protection from Abuse Order (PFA) in Pennsylvania. This is a civil court action that warns the person named not to contact you or risk further charges, including contempt of court and criminal charges.

If your home is located in Chesco, you must file the PFA in the Court of Common Pleas in West Chester. Here are your options:

  • Emergency orders are granted as needed after court hours by calling up a judge (call local law enforcement for the available judge’s number), and only last until the next business day. If you still need a restraining order, you need to go to court.
  • Ex parte temporary PFAs are granted after you go to court and state your case for the judge. If the judge believes you or your children are in danger, you will be granted the PFA, which will last for up to 10 business days, and the judge will schedule a final hearing at which your partner is allowed to be present.
  • Final PFAs are set after a final PFA hearing, in which you and your partner come before the judge and argue your cases for and against a final PFA, which can last up to three years. An attorney or domestic violence victim advocate can be there to help you.

It is recommended that victims file charges against their abuser with the family and criminal courts. The judge can order the abuser to stay away from the home, order any guns that the abuser has to be removed, and if there are children involved, the victim will get full custody, at least temporarily.

The Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C., has over 25 years of experience in family law in Chester County. If you or someone you know wants to leave an abusive marriage, give our office a call for a free consultation at (610) 645-0100. We are here to help.

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