Montgomery County has a population of over 800,000 residents. Serving this populace is the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas. The court has several divisions. All matters of Family Law, including the request of Protection From Abuse orders, are handled in the division of Domestic Relations. There are several judges serving the Domestic Relations division of the court, and cases are heard according to each judge's preference. PFA orders, however, follow a relatively straight forward filing process regardless of which judge ends up adjudicating the hearing for the final PFA.
Filing For A PFA in Montgomery County
Court filings for a Protection From Abuse order can be done during the court's designated hours. These hours are Monday through Friday, during the hours of 8:30 am to 1:30 pm. Victims of abuse must outline their case to a judge at a meeting during these times, and can have a PFA issued, should the judge approve of their claim. Montgomery County also offers an emergency hotline through the Montgomery County Women's Center. The Women's Shelter can walk victims of abuse seeking a PFA order through the process of obtaining an emergency PFA while the court is closed. Like any emergency PFA order, this order is only valid until the victim is able to obtain a full PFA order from a judge.
There are several PFA forms available. PFA orders can be issued for an adult's protection, or for the protection of a child involved in any domestic abuse event. Once a PFA order is filed with the court, a date for a full hearing will be assigned. For the purposes of the filing, the victim will be known as plaintiff, and the abuser will be known as defendant. Once the initial filing is done, and a judge has given approval, the plaintiff will then be able to request that the defendant be served with the temporary PFA order by law enforcement. After a certain period of time, both plaintiff and defendant will be asked to meet with the judge to rule on the issue of whether the temporary PFA order should be made permanent. The defendant will have a chance to defend themselves in court, and likewise the plaintiff will have an opportunity to present their case as well. During this phase it is of utmost important to have an experienced Montgomery County PFA lawyer. While PFA requests can be filed without the assistance of an attorney, the order is only temporary until the hearing. On top of this, PFA orders may affect standing custody and support orders, so it is important to consult with an attorney to find out what the outcomes may be.
If you or a loved one is seeking a Protection From Abuse order, or engaged in other matters of Family Law in Pennsylvania, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.