A Pennsylvania Protection from Abuse order, also known as a PFA, is used to protect an individual who has been the victim of domestic violence. Though it is intended to protect victims, the reality is that individuals often times abuse PFAs and seek them only to retaliate against a current or ex-partner. Due to this potential for abuse, PA family courts are careful when it comes to issuing a PFA because they are difficult to defend against once they are put in place. Whether you are seeking to put a PFA in place or looking to defend against one that was wrongfully brought against you, it is in your best interest to seek legal advice and representation from a Pennsylvania Domestic Violence Lawyer.
Most Protection from Abuse orders are temporary in nature. When you are served with one you will also be provided with a notice of a hearing on the PFA. At this hearing it will be determined whether the PFA should be put in place permanently or if the temporary order will suffice. For most people, presenting their case for a more permanent PFA or trying to defend against a PFA alone can be a difficult task. The law is not the easiest to understand and the emotions involved in this sort of case make it that much more complicated. For these reasons it is best to hire a family law attorney that is experienced in Protection from Abuse orders.
As you are preparing for your case it is very important to keep a few things in mind, particularly if you are the person who has been served with the PFA. First, do not violate the terms of the PFA. Violation of a PFA can, and probably will, result in jail time. Violation may also lead a judge to be more likely to grant a more permanent PFA, which can last for up to three years. Additionally, you need to be aware of the fact that there are usually other stipulations in a PFA that can affect other rights, such as firearm ownership. A PFA can even contain a custody provision if there are minor children involved.
Throughout the entire process, the most important thing is to remember to keep your emotions in check. Whether you are looking to impose a more permanent PFA because you feel that you are in danger, or if you are defending against what you believe is a wrongful PFA, you need to remain calm. Speaking about your case to friends and family members or calling your ex will only complicate the situation more. Also, as mentioned before, follow the terms of the PFA. Even if you are innocent, do not attempt to visit your ex because the judge will take any violation very seriously. If the PFA includes a no-contact order, then do not under any circumstances attempt to contact your ex. Again, doing this will only provide evidence to support the other party’s claim that they need a final PFA to be issued.
A PFA is a very serious matter. You need to realize that there is a lot on the line if you are attempting to enforce or defend a PFA, which is why it is advisable to obtain legal representation for your case. For more information, or to speak to an experienced Pittsburgh PFA lawyer, contact our team of Western PA family lawyers at Lisa Marie Vari & Associates.