Prevention From Abuse Orders – or PFAs – are the Pennsylvania equivalent to what the media commonly calls restraining orders or protective orders. Pennsylvania courts will only issue PFAs under certain circumstances, generally speaking when the alleged abuse involves a family member or someone with whom the complaining party has an intimate relationship. Once a PFA is issued, however, it can seriously disrupt the life of the person whom it's directed against.
Most PFA Applications Never Result in a Permanent PFA Order
A recent infographic compiled by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts shows that in 2021, the majority of PFA applications never resulted in a final order against the person named in the application. In fact, only 19% of PFA applications resulted in a final order being granted. Notably, in 16% of the cases, the complaining party and the person named in the complaint were able to reach an agreement that did not result in a final PFA order; and in 11% of cases, the initial temporary order was dismissed or denied. Finally, 25% of the time, the complaining party failed to appear in court for the PFA hearing.
Being Represented by Skilled Counsel Helps
The entire PFA process is complicated, and if a final PFA order is granted against you, it can mean you may have to leave your home and live elsewhere while still supporting the complaining party and any dependent children; you may be prevented from seeing your children or going anywhere near their school or after-school activities; it can affect your job if your employer learns of it, and you may be required to turn over any firearms you own until the PFA is lifted.
If you've been notified that a temporary PFA has been granted against you, this is not something you want to address alone. If a hearing takes place, the statistics show that there is a good chance that the PFA order could become permanent. Judges sometimes make mistakes, however, and in most cases, they will reach a better result if skilled counsel participates in the PFA hearing proceedings. And unfortunately, it is not unheard of for one party to a disputed custody proceeding to apply for a PFA without just cause in order to secure an advantage in custody negotiations.
With the guidance of experienced counsel such as Joseph D. Lento, however, the outcome could be very different than if you attempt to resolve a PFA on your own. Many cases can be settled through guided negotiations, and in other cases, if there is a hearing, the outcome can be that the temporary PFA is lifted and the request for a permanent PFA is denied. Results like these don't happen by themselves, however. There are enormous benefits to having a skilled attorney – someone who has seen the many ways PFA requests can be resolved short of the court issuing a permanent PFA – learn about your situation, answer your questions, and help you defend your rights. This is a complicated process that you should not face alone.
Contact Joseph D. Lento if You Are Served With a Temporary PFA
If you've been served with a temporary PFA, don't delay; contact Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm as soon as possible to discuss your case and learn how they can help you. Joseph D. Lento has been representing clients who have been on the receiving end of PFA orders for years and knows how this process works. If your case can be resolved short of going to court, Joseph D. Lento will help make that happen; but if a hearing is required, he knows how to protect your rights. Contact Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm today at 888.535.3686 or through the firm's online contact form to learn how Joseph D. Lento can help you.