In every state, victims of abuse have legal options to seek protection from abusers or potential abusers. These options usually include a type of protection order or restraining order, which prevents contact between the victim and the accused, amongst other things.
In Pennsylvania, these types of protection orders address domestic abuse, which can be a very complex and nuanced issue. Sometimes, it's not always clear who is at fault, and if you are served with a protective order, you may feel that you need a protection order against the person who is accusing you of violence.
Is it possible to get a protection order against someone if they've filed a protection order against you?
Restraining Orders in PA: Protection From Abuse
Pennsylvania issues Protection From Abuse orders (PFAs), which allow someone to petition the courts for legal protection from abuse from someone else. The petitioner (the plaintiff) must meet certain requirements for the PFA request to be granted. The plaintiff must have at least one of the following relations to the person they are seeking protection from (the respondent):
- Related by marriage
- Related by blood
- Share a biological child
- Partner in an intimate relationship (current or former)
If the court grants the request for a PFA, a sheriff or county police officer will serve the PFA to the defendant as soon as possible. A PFA can require a respondent to:
- Refrain from further acts of abuse
- Leave their home if they cohabitate with the plaintiff
- Stay away from the plaintiff's home, school, or place of work
- Give up custody or visitation with their children temporarily
- Pay financial support to the defendant or their children
When they are first issued, PFAs are temporary. A hearing date is usually set within ten days of the PFA being issued. At the hearing, a judge will decide if the temporary PFA turns into a long-term one or not.
Mutual Restraining Orders
Technically, two people can have protection orders against each other. For this to happen, each person must independently petition for a protection order with their county courthouse. Both people must also be served with the temporary PFA, and both must successfully prove that the other person has committed abuse at the final PFA hearing.
If someone has filed a protection order against you already, you may file for a protection order against them as well. However, your protection order hearing must take place in the same court that issued the protection order against you. If it takes place in a different court, the judge must deem it impractical to take place in the original court. The judge can also contact the original court for further guidance.
A PA Family Law Lawyer Can Help With Your Restraining Order
If you are seeking a protection order in Pennsylvania or you've just been served with one, having an attorney by your side can help make sense of your situation. Attorney Joseph Lento has assisted many families in dealing with PFAs and knows how to best represent you at your PFA hearing. Contact the Lento Law Firm today by calling 888-535-3686.