Pittsburgh Domestic Violence Resources Lawyers

Western Pennsylvania Domestic Violence Shelters and Referral Sources

Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence - 1(800) 932-4632

Alice Paul House in Indiana County 724-349-4444

Alle-Kiski Area HOPE Center located in Tarentum, Pennsylvania - 1(888) 299-4673

Crisis Center North located in Allison Park, Pennsylvania - (412) 364-5556

Crisis Shelter of Lawrence County 724-652-9036

Fayette County Domestic Violence Services (724) 439-9500

Greene County Domestic Violence Shelter 724-852-2463

AWARE located in Mercer County (Sharon, PA) 724-342-4934

Helping Abuse Victims in Need (HAVIN) located in Armstrong County, PA (Kittanning, Pennsylvania) - 1(800) 841-8881 or (724) 548-8888

VOICE (Victim Outreach Center) located in Butler County, PA 1(800) 400-8551 or (724) 776-5910

Washington Women's Shelter located in Washington County, PA - 1(800) 791-4000 or (724) 223-9190

Womansplace located in McKeesport, Pennsylvania - (412) 678-4616

Women's Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh - (412) 687-8005

Women's Center of Beaver County located in Beaver, Pennsylvania - (724) 775-0131

How to File for an Emergency Protection From Abuse Order in Allegheny County

In Allegheny County, victims of domestic violence should report to the third floor (Room 3030) of Allegheny County Family Court located at 440 Ross Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15219 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m., Monday through Friday except during court holidays. Assistance in completing the PFA petition will be given and a hearing will be conducted at 1:00 p.m.

If you cannot arrive before 11:00 a.m. Monday through Friday, you should contact your local District Magistrate's office for instructions on filing a PFA Complaint at his or her office during normal business hours. If neither Family Court nor the local District Magistrate's office is open, you can proceed to the Allegheny County Night Court located at the Municipal Courts Building, 660 First Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania which is located near the new Allegheny County Jail. The telephone number for the Municipal Courts Building is (412) 350-3240. The Municipal Courts Building is available to assist victims of domestic violence Mondays through Thursdays from 6:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. and Fridays from 6:00 p.m. until Mondays at 6:00 a.m.

An Emergency PFA order which is obtained through a District Magistrate's office or Night Court is valid only until the next regular business day for the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Family Division. Any person receiving such an Emergency PFA order must appear between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. on the next business day to obtain an order continuing the PFA.

What to Do if Your Allegheny County PFA Order Is Violated

1. Immediately report any PFA violation to the police.

2. If the police arrest the defendant, the defendant will be taken to the local District Magistrate's office or to Night Court. Either you or the police officer will be required to complete a Complaint for Indirect Criminal Contempt of the PFA Order. The District Magistrate or Night Court judge will schedule a PFA Contempt Hearing which will take place on a Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. in Family Court. If the defendant was arrested and you have not received notice in the mail of the hearing date, you should contact the Family Court PFA office at (412) 350-4441.

3. If the police do not arrest the defendant, you should take a copy of your PFA Order to the local District Magistrate's office or to Night Court and complete the Complaint for Indirect Criminal Contempt. You will need to list all dates of any violations of the PFA and what occurred. If the District Magistrate or Night Court judge issues an arrest warrant, you should deliver it to the police department where defendant can be located for the defendant to be served. The District Magistrate or Night Court judge will schedule a PFA Contempt Hearing which will take place on a Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. in Family Court. If the defendant was arrested and you have not received notice in the mail of the hearing date, you should contact the Family Court PFA office at (412) 350-4441.

4.  Contact your family law attorney.

How to File for a Domestic Violence Protective Order in Beaver County

In Beaver County, individuals seeking to file a Protection From Abuse (P.F.A.) Petition are to appear at the Court Administrator's Office where he or she will be given a copy of the Steps to Obtain a Temporary Protection Order.

If there is an emergency and it is after normal business hours, an Emergency Order can be issued by a Magisterial District Judge after 4:30 p.m. on a business day or when the Court of Common Pleas is closed. An Emergency order is in effect until the end of the next business day of the Court of Common Pleas. You must report to the Court of Common Pleas to have a temporary order issued.

Petitioners should be prepared to provide all known information regarding the defendant including name, address, date of birth, social security number, employer, criminal record, weapons, etc. Petitioners should also be prepared to list personal information, which will remain confidential, for all protected persons.

The law clerk will then swear in and interview the Petitioner to determine whether allegations by the petitioner meet the threshold for abuse. If so, upon recommendation by the law clerk, the Judge will sign a Temporary Order and schedule a final hearing within 10 days. All pleadings are to be filed in the Prothonotary's Office. Copies of the Petition and Order, including the Notice of Hearing and Notice to Defend will be served on the defendant by the Sheriff.

On the date of the final hearing, your Beaver County domestic violence lawyer will meet you to prepare to negotiate a settlement on your behalf or prepare for a hearing before the Judge. Upon negotiations with opposing counsel, or the opposing party if unrepresented, if a settlement is reached entering a Final Protection from Abuse Order, the Final Order will be signed by the Court and a certified copy should be sent to the local and state police by the moving party.

In lieu of a Protection from Abuse Order, parties may negotiate to enter a Civil Consent Agreement to settle the issues between the parties. If, at any time, the defendant violates any non-economic of the Consent Agreement reached at the PFA Final Hearing, your PA PFA Attorney may file a Petition for Civil Contempt or Modification, alleging that the defendant violated a provision of the court-approved consent agreement. Our office will receive a hearing date from the issuing Judge during that Judge's regularly scheduled motion's court and will serve the defendant with notice of the hearing.

If the case cannot be settled a hearing will be held and the Judge will decide whether to issue a Final Protection from Abuse Order. If the Judge decides to enter a Final Order it should be sent to the local and state police by the moving party.

If, at any time, the defendant violates a no-contact provision of the Emergency, Temporary or Final Protection from Abuse Order, the plaintiff should call 911 immediately and notify our office. The police have authority to arrest anyone who has violated a no-contact provision of any PFA order. When the arrest is made, a Private Criminal Complaint for Indirect Criminal Contempt (I.C.C.) will be filed on your behalf with the District Justice and the Judge will give a forward of the Complaint and notice of hearing to our office. The District Justice will serve a copy of the Private Criminal Complaint on the defendant by certified mail, return receipt requested. The District Justice will notify the Judge, before whom the hearing is scheduled, that the return receipt has been received or the Complaint has been returned undelivered. If the defendant is found in contempt of the PFA Order, he/she can be fined up to $1,000 and/or sentenced to jail for up to 6 months and may receive probation.

How to Get an Order Preventing Spousal Abuse in Butler County Pennsylvania

In Butler County, individuals seeking to file a Protection from Abuse (P.F.A.) Petition are to appear at the Domestic Relations Section, Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. All paperwork required to complete the initial petition will be made available by the Domestic Relations Section Staff.

If there is an emergency and it is after normal business hours, an Emergency Order can be issued by a Magisterial District Judge after 4:30 p.m. on a business day or when the Court of Common Pleas is closed. An Emergency order is in effect until the end of the next business day of the Court of Common Pleas. You must thereafter report to the Court of Common Pleas to have a temporary order issued.

Typically, a counselor from the Volunteers Against Abuse Center is available to assist petitioners and answer questions both about the system and abuse. Petitioners should be prepared to provide all known information regarding the defendant including name, address, date of birth, social security number, employer, criminal record, weapons, etc. Petitioners should also be prepared to list personal information, which will remain confidential, for all protected persons. There is usually no fee charged at the time of presentation of the original petition. The processing time is usually two to four hours depending on Judge availability. Upon a finding that the allegations by the petitioner meet the threshold for abuse, a temporary Protection from Abuse Order will be issued and a final hearing will be scheduled within ten days.

The Domestic Relations Section staff will assist petitioners through the entire process, including docketing at the Prothonotary's office and arranging service of the Order by the Butler County Sheriff's office. Out-of-county defendants will be served notice of the petition and hearing date by the sheriff in their own county. Petitioners may call the Butler County Sheriff's office to confirm that service has been made upon the defendant.

All Final PFA hearings are scheduled for 8:45 a.m. on Tuesday or Thursday. On the date of the final hearing, your Butler County domestic violence lawyer will meet you to prepare to negotiate a settlement on your behalf or prepare for the hearing. Upon negotiations with opposing counsel, or the opposing party if unrepresented, if a settlement is reached entering a Protection from Abuse Order, the Final Order will be signed by the Court and the Prothonotary will notify the Pennsylvania State Police Registry of the entry of a final order.

In lieu of a Protection from Abuse Order, parties may negotiate to enter a Civil Consent Agreement to settle the issues between the parties. The Butler County court strongly favors Consent Orders on Protection from Abuse matters and encourages attempts to settle matters by Consent Order in advance of the hearing date. If, at any time, the defendant violates any non-economic provisions of the Consent Agreement, your PA PFA Attorney may file a Petition for Civil Contempt or Modification, alleging that the defendant violated a provision of the court-approved consent agreement. Our office will receive a hearing date from the issuing Judge during that Judge's regularly scheduled motion's court and will serve the defendant with notice of the hearing.

If the case cannot be settled a hearing will be held and the Judge will decide whether to issue a Final Protection from Abuse Order. If the Judge decides to issue a Final Order, the Prothonotary will notify the Pennsylvania State Police Registry of the entry of a Final Order.

If, at any time, the defendant violates the no-contact provision of the PFA Emergency, Temporary, or Final PFA Order, the plaintiff should call 911 immediately and notify their PA Protection from Abuse Lawyer. The police have authority to arrest anyone who has violated a no-contact provision of any PFA order, temporary or final. When the arrest is made, a Private Criminal Complaint for Indirect Criminal Contempt (I.C.C.) will be filed on your behalf with the District Justice and the Judge will forward a copy of the Complaint and notice of hearing our office. The District Justice will serve a copy of the Private Criminal Complaint on the defendant by certified mail, return receipt requested. The District Justice will notify the Judge, before whom the hearing is scheduled, that the return receipt has been received or the Complaint has been returned undelivered. If the defendant is found in contempt of the PFA Order, he/she can be fined up to $1,000 and/or sentenced to jail for up to 6 months and may receive probation.

How to Get a PFA Order in Lawrence County

In Lawrence County, domestic violence cases are heard by the Lawrence County Family Court Judge in his or her courtroom. The temporary PFA will be filed in the PFA office of the courthouse, where you will receive assistance in completing the petition from family court staff. You will then go in front of the Judge in their courtroom.

The Lawrence County PFA complaint will ask for various personal information, including name, address, telephone number, criminal record, weapons ownership, and information regarding any outstanding family law matters, such as child custody and child support. The Lawrence County PFA office will assist you with any issues you may have while completing the Petition, and may call a Lawrence County domestic violence advocate can assist you during the Temporary PFA proceedings.

If there is an emergency that occurs after normal business hours, an Emergency PFA Order can be issued by a Lawrence County Magisterial District Judge after 4:00 p.m. on Friday and before 8:00 a.m. on Mondays, as well as holidays, and at night after the Court is closed. An Emergency Order expires on the next business day and a complaint for a temporary PFA must be filed on the next business day at the PFA office in the Lawrence County Court of Common Pleas.

At the temporary PFA hearing, the petitioner will be sworn in and interviewed by the Judge to determine whether the petitioner's assertions meet the threshold for establishing abuse. If so, the Judge will sign a Temporary Order and schedule a final hearing within 10 days. The Domestic Violence Order will be filed with the prothonotary. The Order and a copy of the Petition will then be served on the defendant, along with a notice to appear at the Final PFA hearing.

Your Lawrence County domestic violence attorney will meet you in the interim period between the hearings to negotiate a settlement on your behalf, and/or to prepare for the final PFA hearing before the Judge. If a settlement can be reached between your attorney and opposing counsel (or the unrepresented other party) then a Consent Order can be drafted withdrawing the PFA and setting provisions with which the defendant must comply. If the Order is violated, your Lawrence County PFA attorney can file a Petition for Civil Contempt, and present it in ordinary Motions Court, which can result in serious sanctions.

If the PFA is not settled, at the final hearing both parties will present evidence to the Lawrence County Court. Children should not be brought to the PFA hearing, unless they are a Petitioner. In the case that they are, they will be interviewed individually in chambers by the family court judge. If the Judge is satisfied that abuse was proven by the facts, the Final Order will be signed by the Court and will take effect immediately. The Final Order will be filed with the Prothonotary, who will notify the Pennsylvania State Police Registry of the entry of a Final Order.

If a PFA Order is violated, contact 911 as well as your Lawrence County PFA attorney. If the defendant is found in contempt of the PFA Order, he/she can be fined up to $1,000 and/or sentenced to probation or jail for up to 6 months.

How to File a Domestic Violence Action in Mercer County Pennsylvania

The procedure to seek protection from domestic violence in Mercer County, PA is called the Protection From Abuse procedure, which takes approximately 2 hours. The temporary Protection From Abuse (PFA) petition will be heard by the judicial law clerk in the Mercer County Courthouse.

The first step in seeking protection from domestic violence is to go to the Mercer County Prothonotary's office to fill out a PFA petition. The petition, which is similar to any other type of legal complaint, alleges certain facts to assist the court in determining whether or not the grant of a PFA is necessary. If you require assistance completing this petition, you may contact either a community legal advocate, or your Mercer County domestic violence attorney. The petition will require you to provide certain information, such as your name, address, the name of the defendant, any criminal background, weapons ownership, and any existing child custody arrangements.

If there is an emergency, and you must file a PFA outside of normal business hours, you should call the police at 911, who will be able to direct you to the available Mercer County magistrate who can issue an emergency PFA if the circumstances demand it. The emergency PFA will be in effect until the next business day, when you must go to the Mercer County Courthouse to file the petition for the temporary PFA.

Once the petition is completed, it is resubmitted to the Prothonotary, who files it and sends it to court administration. The court administrator subsequently sends the petition to the relevant judicial law clerk.

The law clerk will swear you in, and question you or your Mercer County domestic violence lawyer regarding the allegations in the complaint, to establish their truth and your credibility. The law clerk will then show the judge the petition, and make a recommendation based on the hearing. If the law clerk is satisfied that the facts suggest the need for a temporary PFA, and the Judge accepts their recommendation, then the Judge will sign the temporary Order. A final PFA hearing will then be scheduled within ten (10) days before the Court. The defendant must be served with copies of the complaint and temporary PFA Order, usually by the Sheriff.

Within the interim period between the temporary PFA hearing and the final hearing, your attorney will likely to settle the PFA with opposing counsel, or the opposing party, if unrepresented. If a settlement is able to be negotiated, it will be memorialized and filed with the Court when the temporary PFA Order is withdrawn. If any non-economic provision of the settlement is violated, it will be enforceable in court by the filing of a Petition for Civil Contempt, and could result in severe penalties for the defendant.

If no settlement can be reached, the petitioner and their PA PFA Attorney will proceed to the Final PFA Hearing. Unlike at the temporary PFA hearing, at which only the petitioner is present, the defendant will be able to hire their own Mercer County PFA attorney to present testimony and witnesses to advocate for their position before the PFA Judge. If the Judge believes that a final Order is necessary and signs it, the Order will remain in effect for at least one year.

If the Order is violated, you should contact the police, as well as your Mercer County PFA attorney. The District Attorney will file charges against the defendant for violating the Final PFA Order , which could result in the defendant being fined or incarcerated for up to six (6) months.

Washington County Protection From Abuse Procedures

In Washington County, cases involving domestic violence or spousal abuse are heard by the Family Court Judge in his courtroom.

If there is an emergency and it is after normal business hours, an Emergency Order can be issued by a Magisterial District Judge after 4:30 p.m. on a business day or when the Court of Common Pleas is closed. An Emergency order is in effect until the end of the next business day of the Court of Common Pleas. You must report to the Court of Common Pleas to have a temporary order issued.

Petitioners should be prepared to provide all known information regarding the defendant including name, address, date of birth, social security number, employer, criminal record, weapons, etc. Petitioners should also be prepared to list personal information, which will remain confidential, for all protected persons.

The Petitioner will then be sworn in and interviewed by the Judge to determine whether allegations by the petitioner meet the threshold for abuse. If so, the Judge will sign a Temporary Order and schedule a final hearing within 10 days. All pleadings are filed in the Prothonotary's Office. Copies of the Petition and Order, including the Notice of Hearing and Notice to Defend are served on the defendant by the Sheriff.

On the date of the final hearing, your Washington County domestic violence attorney will meet you to prepare to negotiate a settlement on your behalf or prepare for a hearing before the Judge. Upon negotiations with opposing counsel, or the opposing party if unrepresented, if a settlement is reached entering a Final Protection from Abuse Order, the Final Order will be signed by the Court and a certified copy should be sent to the local and state police by the moving party.

In lieu of a Protection from Abuse Order, parties may negotiate to enter a Civil Consent Agreement to settle the issues between the parties. If, at any time, the defendant violates any non-economic of the Consent Agreement, your PA PFA Attorney may file a Petition for Civil Contempt or Modification, alleging that the defendant violated a provision of the court-approved consent agreement. Our office will then receive a hearing date from the issuing Judge during that Judge's regularly scheduled motion's court and will serve the defendant with notice of the hearing.

If the case cannot be settled a hearing will be held and the Judge will decide whether to issue a Final Protection from Abuse Order. If the Judge decides to issue a Final Order, the Prothonotary will notify the Pennsylvania State Police Registry of the entry of a Final Order.

If, at any time, the defendant violates the no-contact provision of the Emergency, Temporary Order or Final PFA Order, the plaintiff should call 911 immediately and notify our office. The police have authority to arrest anyone who has violated a no-contact provision of any PFA order. When the arrest is made, a Private Criminal Complaint for Indirect Criminal Contempt (I.C.C.) will be filed on your behalf with the District Justice and the Judge will forward a copy of the Complaint and notice of hearing to our office. The District Justice will serve a copy of the Private Criminal Complaint on the defendant by certified mail, return receipt requested. The District Justice will notify the Judge, before whom the hearing is scheduled, that the return receipt has been received or the Complaint has been returned undelivered. If the defendant is found in contempt of the PFA Order, he/she can be fined up to $1,000 and/or sentenced to jail for up to 6 months and may receive probation.

How to Obtain a Westmoreland County Protection from Abuse Order

In Westmoreland County, individuals seeking to file a Protection from Abuse (P.F.A.) Petition are to appear at the PFA Office of the Court Administrator's Office, Monday through Friday, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m.

If there is an emergency and it is after normal business hours, an Emergency Order can be issued by a Magisterial District Judge after 4:30 p.m. on a business day or when the Court of Common Pleas is closed. An Emergency order is in effect until the end of the next business day of the Court of Common Pleas. Thereafter, you must report to the Court of Common Pleas to have a temporary order issued.

Typically, representatives at the Court Administrator's Office can answer questions, address criteria necessary, and help you complete the necessary paperwork to file for a PFA. Petitioners should be prepared to provide all known information regarding the defendant including name, address, date of birth, social security number, employer, criminal record, weapons, etc. Petitioners should also be prepared to list personal information, which will remain confidential, for all protected persons. There is usually no fee charged at the time of presentation of the original petition. The processing time to obtain a Temporary PFA may take several hours so it is advised that you plan accordingly with employers and child caretakers. Upon a finding that the allegations by the petitioner meet the threshold for abuse, a temporary Protection from Abuse Order will be issued and a final hearing will be scheduled within the week following the Temporary Order.

Upon receiving a Temporary PFA Order, the Order must be filed with the Prothonotary and copies of the Order must be taken to your local police department and the County Sheriff Department (located in the basement of the courthouse) for service on the defendant

On the date of the final hearing, your Westmoreland County domestic violence lawyer will meet you to prepare to negotiate a settlement on your behalf or prepare for a hearing before the Judge. Upon negotiations with opposing counsel, or the opposing party if unrepresented, if a settlement is reached entering a Final Protection from Abuse Order, the Final Order will be signed by the Court and the Prothonotary will notify the Pennsylvania State Police Registry of the entry of a Final Order.

In lieu of a Protection from Abuse Order, parties may negotiate to enter a Civil Consent Agreement to settle the issues between the parties. If, at any time, the defendant violates any non-economic of the Consent Agreement, your PA PFA Attorney may file a Petition for Civil Contempt or Modification, alleging that the defendant violated a provision of the court-approved consent agreement. Our office will receive a hearing date from the issuing Judge during that Judge's regularly scheduled motions court and will serve the defendant with notice of the hearing.

If the case cannot be settled a hearing will be held and the Judge will decide whether to issue a Final Protection from Abuse Order. If the Judge decides to issue a Final Order, the Prothonotary will notify the Pennsylvania State Police Registry of the entry of a Final Order.

If, at any time, the defendant violates the no-contact provision of the Emergency, Temporary or Final PFA Order, the plaintiff should call 911 immediately and notify our office. The police have authority to arrest anyone who has violated a no-contact provision of any PFA order. When the arrest is made, a Private Criminal Complaint for Indirect Criminal Contempt (I.C.C.) will be filed on your behalf with the District Justice and the Judge will forward a copy of the Complaint and notice of hearing. The ICC will be prosecuted by the District Attorney. The District Justice will serve a copy of the Private Criminal Complaint on the defendant by certified mail, return receipt requested. The District Justice will notify the Judge, before whom the hearing is scheduled, that the return receipt has been received or the Complaint has been returned undelivered. If the defendant is found in contempt of the PFA Order, he/she can be fined up to $1,000 and/or sentenced to jail for up to 6 months and may receive probation.