How to Celebrate Father’s Day Safely When There’s a PA ‘Protection From Abuse Order Against Dad

Posted by Joseph Lento | Jun 09, 2023 | 0 Comments

Father's Day is an opportunity for children to show appreciation for the fathers in their lives and strengthen the bond between them. Father figures are an essential part of a child's development. Parents should nurture father-child relationships, especially if the child's parents are separated or divorced. But when there is a “protection from abuse” order against the father, celebrating dad can pose challenges.

What is a ‘Protection from Abuse Order?

A protection from abuse (PFA) order is a type of restraining order that provides victims of domestic violence (plaintiffs) with legal protection against their abuser (defendants). A person can only file a PFA against a member of the family or household, an intimate partner, or the co-parent of a child.

PFAs in Pennsylvania can also include certain restrictions, such as:

  • Prohibit the defendant from contacting the plaintiff
  • Prevent the defendant from entering the plaintiff's home, school, job

Under a PFA in Pennsylvania, a judge can grant temporary custody of the children to one parent and set up either supervised or unsupervised visitation for the other parent, provided it doesn't conflict with the PFA order. For example, some PFAs protect children by preventing contact with an abusive parent.

If the court finds no abuse of the children, a PFA order will not supersede the defendant's custody and visitation rights.

How to Safely Celebrate Father's Day With a PFA

If the PFA does not prevent the father from having unsupervised visitation with the children, both parties must honor the arrangement, including on Father's Day. When parents make handoffs of children and one parent is under a PFA, parents must not violate the terms of the PFA. For example, if the PFA bars the father from entering the plaintiff's house, the handoff of the children must not take place in the plaintiff's home. Choosing a neutral location, such as a park or a busy restaurant, is best. Both parents should also commit to being on time for handoffs and pickups.

Some PFAs allow the defendant to see the children, but only if another adult supervises the visits. In this case, a judge may assign a social worker, family friend, or relative to monitor the defendant's visitation with the children. The monitor is someone both parents can agree on.

It's important to remember that PFAs are put in place to protect the parent and the children from abuse. If either parent violates the terms of the PFA for any reason, it could still result in the defendant's arrest and potential punishment.

Navigating PFAs During Father's Day

Protection from abuse orders protect victims of domestic violence from harm. But they can make holiday gatherings challenging. But it can make holiday gatherings difficult. If you or a loved one is involved in matters of Family Law in Pennsylvania, contact LLF Law Firm and our Family Law Team by phone or online today.

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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