The York County Court of Common Pleas is in the 19th Judicial District of Pennsylvania. It hears major civil and criminal cases, including adoption, divorce, child custody, abuse, juvenile delinquency, estates, guardianships, and more.
Your family law case will be heard at this court if you reside in York County, PA. The court deals with many issues pertaining to family law, including divorce, custody, visitation, protection from abuse, and more. The court places special value on protecting children, youth, and families.
Among the family law services available at the York County Court of Common Please, are Protection from Abuse (PFA) services. The York County PFA Office helps survivors of abuse or intimidation obtain protection orders against their abusers. It is located at the York County Judicial Centre at 45 North George Street, York, PA 17401, and is open from 8.00 AM to 4.00 PM on days the Judicial Centre is open. Protection orders include:
- Protection from Abuse (PFA)
- Protection from Intimidation (PFI)
- Sexual Violence Protection (SVP)
Protection From Abuse
In order to apply for a PFA order, a household or family relationship between the two parties needs to exist. This order may be filed if domestic violence, defined as physical violence or threats of physical violence, is involved.
Relief options include:
- No contact
- Relinquishing of firearms or weapons
- Removal of the defendant from the home
- Financial support
The judge may also award other appropriate relief at their discretion.
Protection From Intimidation
A PFI order may be filed if the victim is a minor and the defendant is an adult. The two parties involved must not have a family, romantic, sexual, or intimate relationship.
Relief options may include:
- No contact
- Any other relief the judge considers appropriate
Sexual Violence Protection
A sexual violence protection order protects victims of sexual violence from further abuse and intimidation. It does not require the victim and defendant to have an intimate or household relationship and protects the victim from the risk of continued harm by their abuser.
Relief may include:
- No Contact
- No attempts at third-party contact with the victim
- The abuser may be barred from going to the 'victim's place of residence, school, or workplace
- Any other relief the judge considers appropriate
Sexual violence protection comes under the 2014 Pennsylvania law, known as the Protection of Victims of Sexual Violence or Intimidation Act.
How to File a PFA Order in York County
Residents of York County who want a protection from abuse order can file it down at the York County Court of Common Pleas. The 'court's address is:
45 North George Street,
York, PA 17401
More information can be obtained here.
Obtaining a PFA
A protection from abuse order is designed to protect a person who has been a victim of domestic violence from further harassment, abuse, and violence. It prohibits the defendant from stalking, threatening, harassing, or attempting to use force against the victim.
Families or individuals in Pennsylvania can apply for a PFA against someone they have a relationship if if they have been violent or abusive towards the person applying for a PFA. This can include:
- A spouse or former spouse of an offender
- A current or former sexual partner of the offender
- A child of the victim
- A child of the offender
- A family member related to the offender by blood or marriage
- A biological sibling of the offender
- A current or former partner who lived with the offender as a spouse
A temporary PFA lasts for 7 to 10 days or until the PFA court hearing. At the hearing, if a permanent PFA is issued, it can stay in effect for up to three years. A PFA can be filed at the York County PA Court of Common Pleas, either with an advocate or independently. PFA requests are filed in the Self-Help Centre at the Protection from Abuse Office. The office is functional from 8 AM to 4 PM on days when the Judicial Centre is open.
Although you do not need an attorney to file a PFA for you, it helps to have an experienced family law attorney with you for guidance and support. Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm can help you file a PFA and ensure your rights are protected in court.
The PFA Office at York County Court also offers counseling, safety planning, and assistance for people seeking a PFA, PFI, or SVP.
Defending Yourself From a PFA
Following a PFA filing, the police or a service processor can serve the defendant with a PFA. There are two kinds of PFA orders a defendant could get served with temporary and permanent. In the case of a temporary PFA, a judge will usually set a hearing to decide whether a temporary PFA will be served. This hearing is supposed to take place within 10 days, and the temporary PFA can be valid for 7-10 days or until the hearing.
At the hearing, defendants have the right to have an attorney present. Your attorney can cross-examine witnesses and challenge the evidence presented in court. Attorney Joseph Lento and the Lento Law Firm can advocate for you and ensure you are not unfairly served with a permanent PFA. Having an attorney present at the hearing is not mandatory, but it can make a significant difference to the outcome of your case.
After the hearing, the judge makes a decision on whether a permanent PFI is needed. A permanent PFI can last up to 3 years and prohibits the defendant from having contact with the victim.
Why Hire a Family Law Attorney
If you are going through a family law issue or legal case – whether it relates to divorce and custody, visitation, child support, protection from abuse, or something else – it can be challenging and emotionally taxing. Conflicts with family members or current or former spouses are not only emotionally draining and difficult, but contending with the courts and law and trying to figure out legal procedures and rules can make the process even more complicated and trying.
An experienced family law attorney can make the process much smoother and easier for you – and also ensure that your rights are protected and that you walk away with the best possible outcome in your case.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have years of experience in family law and can help you obtain a positive outcome in your case – whether it relates to child support, custody, divorce, domestic abuse, or a different issue. Call (888)535-3686 today to schedule a consultation.