Our PFA Lawyers Are Here to Help
If you need immediate assistance in Southeastern Pennsylvania, don't hesitate to contact the Laurel House's 24-hour Hotline. Call 1‑800‑642‑3150 OR Text "HOPE" to 85511. Or call one of the PFA lawyers at our family law firm with offices in Bucks and Montgomery Counties.
What is a PFA?
PFAs, or Protections from Abuse in Pennsylvania, serve as temporary or permanent (up to 3 years) restraining orders.
What's the difference between a PFA Order and a Restraining order?
The only difference between a PFA and a restraining order is that PFAs relate explicitly to domestic violence. So if you're facing domestic violence concerns and need help, talk to one of our PFA lawyers in our Norristown or Doylestown law offices.
How quickly can you get a PFA?
While the wheels of justice sometimes turn slowly, such is not the case with actions brought under Pennsylvania's Protection from Abuse (PFA) Act.
First, assuming the victim of either an assault or a serious threat of an assault qualifies as a protected party, courts can issue a temporary order the same day as the PFA's filing. To qualify, the victim must have a familial or intimate relationship with the alleged perpetrator. Next, the court will schedule a final hearing within ten days.
Although the PFA Act is a Pennsylvania law, every county has a different process to get a PFA order. At the hearing, the burden is on the petitioner to show that they were the victim of a physical assault or placed in reasonable fear of severe bodily injury. If the court finds this burden met, it will enter a protection order lasting three years. A PFA lawyer can support you through the process.
What does a PFA order do?
In addition to a complete cessation of abuse, the judge may offer several forms of relief:
- Eviction from a shared residence
- Relinquishment of firearms
- Payment of costs
In addition, the judge may order temporary support and temporary provisions for child custody in appropriate cases. Family attorney Michael Prasad goes in-depth about temporary and permanent restraining orders available in New Jersey.
What can happen if you violate a PFA order?
An offender who violates a PFA order can be arrested and charged with a crime called indirect criminal contempt. This action can result in various sanctions, including the possibility of incarceration. In the event of changed circumstances, while the PFA Order is in effect, either party can petition to modify the existing Order. Again, a PFA lawyer can guide you.
Can you get a PFA order expunged?
Protection from Sexual Violence or Intimidation
The Protection of Victims of Sexual Violence or Intimidation (PSVI) Act provides victims of sexual violence or intimidation an avenue for protection. The Act only applies when the offender is not an intimate partner or family member. "Sexual violence" includes criminalized sexual offense, sexual abuse of children, corruption of minors, and unlawful contact with a minor. "Intimidation" relates to either harassment or stalking.
Obtaining and enforcing PSVI orders involve a procedure similar to a PFA action. If, after a final hearing, the petitioner proves there is a continued risk of harm, the court will issue a "no contact" order which can remain in effect for up to three years.
Get the Support You Need by Talking with a PFA Lawyer at Our Local Law Firm
If you require a PFA order or PSVI order, don't hesitate. Call a PFA lawyer at our Bucks County and Montgomery County family law firm. They'll provide the support and counsel you need to protect yourself from abuse. Call 610-275-0700 now.