If an ex has obtained a Protection From Abuse order against you, it can rattle your world in ways you never expected. While each PFA order may differ slightly, the vast majority prohibit you from having any contact with your ex and their family members, accessing your home, or even having custody of your kids. If you violate the order, even accidentally, you may get arrested and face jail time and fines.
Despite the gravity of the order, life moves on. You may find yourself happily in a new relationship but worried about how and what to tell your new partner about the PFA. Here's what you need to know.
Potential Obligation to Tell New Partner About a PFA
You have no legal obligation to tell someone you're dating about the PFA; however, you may have an ethical responsibility. Healthy relationships are built upon mutual trust. If your new relationship seems to be heading down a serious path, or if you're spending a lot of time together, your date might expect or want to know this significant detail of your life. Should they find out that there's a PFA against you through someone else, they might think you untrustworthy and assume the worst about the circumstances that lead to the PFA. It's better to tell them about it yourself, and let them know your side of the story, even if it means risking the relationship.
It's also a good idea to tell someone you're dating seriously about the PFA if there's a chance that they know your ex. Since you cannot be in close proximity to your ex, your new partner needs to know to prevent accidental meetings that could land you in trouble.
How To Tell a New Partner About a PFA
Telling a new partner about a PFA is no light matter. You should give ample thought to the manner and timing of breaking the news. Here are a few tips that can help smooth the path.
Choose the right time. Your partner might better receive the message if you time it correctly. Pick a moment when they aren't stressed or preoccupied with other things and when you will not be interrupted. You should also choose the appropriate phase of your relationship to break the news. If you share this information on the first few dates, it might frighten them away. If you wait too long, they might see you as dishonest.
Be honest. If you want your new partner to trust you, it's essential to be honest about how the PFA came about. Don't bend the truth to try to make yourself look good. If your ex made false accusations to obtain the PFA, share this information. That said, own any mistakes you may have made that led to or contributed to the situation. Your partner will be looking for reasons to trust you, and your honesty will help.
Give them time. The news may surprise your partner, and they may need time to consider what the PFA means to your relationship. Be ready to answer any questions they have and give them the space they need to absorb the information.Hopefully, you've already established that you're a trustworthy person worth staying with despite bumps in your past.
Hire a PFA Lawyer in Pennsylvania
If someone has petitioned for a PFA against you, speak to a domestic violence lawyer as soon as possible. You must act fast to ensure that your rights are protected. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have years of experience handling domestic violence cases and a strong track record of delivering results. Contact us today for a case evaluation at (888) 535-3686.