Can Two People Have Restraining Orders Against Each Other?

Posted by Joseph Lento | Jul 08, 2022 | 0 Comments

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. Our Family Law Team has assisted many families in dealing with PFAs and knows how to best represent you at your PFA hearing. Contact the LLF Law Firm today by calling 888-535-3686.

About the Author

Joseph Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento is a veteran of one of the nation's busiest family courts with nearly 20 years' experience passionately helping families. By day, he worked in the trenches of family court, and at night, he studied the law. He helped countless families while working at family court, and he went on to become an attorney, dedicating his law practice to continuing the work he started years earlier. Mr. Lento's experience both behind the scenes and on the front lines allows him to understand a client's family law matter from all angles, and allows him to find and employ the most effective strategies to get favorable outcomes for any client. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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The LLF Law Firm has unparalleled experience practicing Family Law in Pennsylvania. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you and your family, contact our offices today. Our Family Law Team will go above and beyond the needs for any client and fight for what is fair.

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