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Reasons to Get a PFA in Pennsylvania

Published: Apr 14, 2017 in Protection From Abuse (PFA)

Written by Anthony Piccirilli

A Protection From Abuse (PFA) order, commonly called a restraining order, is a document signed by a judge that tells a person who has abused you or your child that they must stop their actions and leave you alone or face serious consequences. A PFA is available to men and women who are victims of domestic violence and who need the legal system to step in to protect them from further abuse.

If you believe a PFA is necessary for you and your children to live safely, call a skilled Pittsburgh PFA lawyer at Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC right away. Call (412) 471-5100 to schedule an initial consultation. If you believe the situation is an emergency requiring urgent protection, go to your nearest police station immediately.

Types of PFA Orders

In Pennsylvania, there are emergency PFA orders, ex parte temporary PFA orders, and final PFA orders. An emergency order is used when you are in immediate danger and is signed by the on-call judge. This will only last until you are able to go to court for an ex parte temporary order, which requires an initial court hearing before a judge. The temporary PFA order lasts until there can be a full hearing for a final PFA, which usually takes place within 10 business days. At a full PFA hearing, you and your alleged abuser will be able to present evidence supporting your sides of the situation. If you win, your PFA can last for up to three years.

Reasons to Get a PFA

There are many reasons to seek a PFA order, and it is not only after you have been assaulted. You should try and obtain a PFA if your spouse or former spouse, current or previous romantic partner, parent, child, or other relative has:

  1. Physically harmed you.

    If the other adult ever physically or sexually assaults you, with or without a dangerous weapon, you have grounds for a PFA. While physical marks or a physician’s exam regarding the abuse is helpful, it is not necessarily essential. There are many ways to prove bodily injury, sexual assault, incest or rape.

  2. Threatened you with physical violence.

    If the other adult has threatened you with physical violence and is capable of moving forward with those threats, you may reasonably fear immediate serious bodily injury. This is cause to seek a PFA.

  3. Controlled your movements and whereabouts.

    A common form of domestic abuse is for abusers to control your movements, including when you are able to leave the house. Abusers may also limit where you are allowed to go, such as only to work or the grocery store. If another adult has restrained your personal freedom, for example, has locked you in the house or taken your car keys, call a PFA lawyer immediately.

  4. Controlled who you can see and speak to.

    Another form of domestic abuse is to control who you can see and speak to. Abusers will often try and isolate you from friends and family to ensure they are your only support network and you are less likely to leave. If another adult keeps you from seeing friends and family, takes away your cell phones, or has isolated you in another way, ask a PFA attorney for help.

  5. Has stalked or harassed you.

    If another adult is continuously following you and harassing you, putting you in fear for your safety, you can ask for a PFA.

  6. Has hurt or threatened your child.

    A PFA may be necessary not only for you, but also for your child. If the other adult’s abuse was directed at one or more of your children, speak with a Pittsburgh PFA attorney immediately.

Help Seeking a PFA

You do not have to go through the legal process of seeking a protection order alone. There are PFA advocates, like the attorneys at Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC, who can help you navigate the procedural and emotional hurdles associated with gaining protection orders. Getting a PFA requires filling out and filing court documents as well as providing evidence of abuse. This process can go much smoother if you have a lawyer by your side who knows what to do and how to make a convincing argument before the judge.

Contact a Pittsburgh PFA Lawyer Today

If you have been hurt or fear for your safety, do not hesitate to call Pittsburgh family lawyer Anthony Piccirilli with Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC at (412) 471-5100. We have handled numerous PFA cases and can guide you through this process with compassion. Let us help.