Lawyers Discuss Protection from Abuse Orders in Delaware County
Dedicated to Helping Victims of Abuse in Delaware County
If you are going through a contentious divorce or another type of family law dispute, and violence, harassment, or threats are involved, you are likely terrified. Thankfully, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself. In Pennsylvania, you can file a protection from abuse order (PFA). It is a type of restraining order that, once approved, can limit interactions, or contact with your abuser.
Contact the Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C. by calling us at (866) 290-9292 to schedule a consultation with our Delaware County family law attorney. Our focus is on ensuring victims of violence or abuse have the legal protections available under state law.
What is a PFA Order?
There are different types of PFA orders in Pennsylvania (ex parte temporary PFA, emergency order, and final PFA), which are all designed to protect victims of domestic violence. Whether you are being physically abused, harassed, stalked, or threatened with violence, a PFA order can help provide the peace of mind and safety you need.
Here are the legal requirements for obtaining a PFA order:
- If you are seeking a PFA order, you must be an adult or an emancipated minor
- You can only seek a PFA order for acts of domestic abuse
- The abuser must be either a member of your household or a family member who is abusing either you or your minor children
- The abuser could also be a former spouse or former partner or someone with whom you have a child
A PFA order is not designed to protect victims who are being abused by a stranger or a roommate with whom they are not intimately involved.
The Process of Obtaining a PFA Order
Although the process of obtaining a PFA order can vary from county to county, these are some general steps you would expect to follow:
- You, the petitioner, will go to your county courthouse and fill out a form, explaining why you are seeking protection. You will also have to explain what types of protection you are requesting. For example, if your abuser owns any firearms, you may request that these be surrendered. Your attorney can do this for you.
- Your petition will be reviewed by a judge. The judge may have additional questions for you and, at this point, would either grant or deny a temporary PFA order. You will also receive a date for a final hearing to decide if a final PFA order is necessary. Your lawyer can represent you at this hearing.
- The respondent, or defendant, will have a copy of the petition, temporary PFA order, and notice of the final hearing delivered by the local sheriff’s office.
- During the final hearing, you and the defendant will appear before a judge where you will both be heard. In the end, the judge will determine, based on testimony and evidence, if a final PFA order should be granted. If granted, it will last up to three years.
If you successfully obtain a PFA order, it can give you an increased sense of safety, knowing that you and your children are protected. It could also give you the ability to obtain temporary custody of your children as well as temporary financial support.
Work with Our Experienced Delaware County Divorce Attorney
Although it is not required by law to hire a divorce attorney to handle your PFA order, having skilled legal representation on your side can improve your chances of obtaining the protection you and your family need. If you are a victim of domestic violence, navigating this on your own can be overwhelming.
Our Delaware County divorce lawyer at the Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C. can discuss your situation with you. Call us at (866) 290-9292 for a consultation.