A protection from abuse order comes from a judge signing a paper, telling the perpetrator to prevent the abuse, alternatively face serious legal consequences. This order offers civil legal protection for both female and male victims who could also be experiencing violence or abuse. There is a spread of sorts of protection from abuse orders (“PFA”) within the US. This type of PFA that you’re going to initially get depends on whether the judge believes you’d need protection or not.
Ex parte Temporary PFA
When you ask the court for a PFA, the judge will provide you with an ex parte PFA if you or the kids are in peril and need immediate protection. Ex parte refers to things where the alleged perpetrator wasn’t given any notification beforehand or wasn’t in court.
This temporary order will last until there’s a full-court hearing for most PFA wherein the perpetrator will get an opportunity to testify or present his or her evidence. A hearing is often scheduled in the next 10 business days. If the abuser owns a gun or weapon, confirm that you will tell your lawyer and tell this to the judge when applying for your ex parte temporary PFA so that the judge can order the weapon to be immediately turned over to the sheriff or other enforcement agency.
If you wish or need immediate protection, especially when the courts are closed during the night, late holiday, or on a weekend, you’re encouraged to call your department of local government or contact 911.
They’re going to inform you which of the magisterial district judges is on-call that night and provide you the contact details where you’ll reach her or him. If the judge thinks you’re in immediate danger, s/he may grant you an emergency order. An emergency order will only last until a subsequent business day.
An emergency order is supposed to give you protection until a court opens and you have a chance to ask an ex parte temporary PFA. If you’re not attending court on a subsequent business day to use for an ex parte temporary PFA, your emergency order will expire.
After a hearing, in which you both have an opportunity to tell your side of the story through your testimony, evidence, and witnesses, a judge can grant you final protection from abuse order (PFA). A final PFA lasts up to three years and should be extended under certain circumstances.
What protections are you able to get within a protection from abuse order?
A protection from abuse order offers subsequent protections for you and your children. It can order the abuser to not abuse, harass, stalk, threaten, or attempt or threaten to use physical force against you or your minor children, or order the abuser to be away from the house where you both live and grant you possession of the house. Under certain circumstances, if you’re living within a home where the abuser is the sole owner or tenant, the judge can still remove the abuser from the house or alongside your consent, order him/her to provide you with suitable alternate housing or award temporary custody or temporary right of your minor children.
Order the abuser to pay support (including medical bills, insurance, rent, or mortgage payments to you or your children; prohibit the abuser from having any contact with you or minor kids, which includes by staying away from you or your children’s place of employment, school, or business. The PFA also can order the abuser to supply his/her firearms and firearm license to the sheriff or police and prohibit him/her from getting additional firearms.
Other protections include ordering the abuser to surrender his/her other weapons and ammunition to the sheriff or police if s/he used them or threatened to use them during the abuse. The judge may order the perpetrator to pay for the losses that were caused by the abuse. This will include the value of medical aid, moving expenses, relocation, and attorney and counseling costs. it’s going to also include the loss of earnings or support and grant any other appropriate relief you request.
The judge issues a final order after an effort, the order must include the protection against physical harm. However, if the final order was a consent order where both parties agreed that the order would be issued, then those protections aren’t mandatory but can be included.