Easton, PA Attorney Represents Clients in Domestic Violence Actions
Dedicated, reliable counsel related to Protection from Abuse Orders
Pennsylvania law allows victims of domestic violence to seek “protection from abuse” orders from the court. Also known as a restraining order, a PFA prohibits an abuser from approaching or contacting the victim. Richard J. Shiroff helps victims of abuse obtain PFAs in a timely manner for their safety and their children’s. I also help clients who are targeted in a restraining order assert their rights and defend their reputation. If you are involved in an abusive relationship and need help, or if you’ve been served with a restraining order and want to know your rights, I can provide the trustworthy counsel you need.
Basic information on PFAs in Pennsylvania
The law allows a victim who is at least 18 years of age, an emancipated minor or a minor who has the assistance of an adult to seek protection from a range of dangers, including:
- Bodily injury
- Sexual assault
- Fear of violence
- False imprisonment
- Physical or sexual assault of a child
The abuser must be a member of your household, such as one of the following:
- Spouse or ex-spouse
- Cohabiting lover
- Family member related to you by blood or marriage
- Current or former sexual or intimate partner
- Your child’s other parent
There is no charge for the victim to file for a PFA.
Types of PFAs available in Pennsylvania
For victims of domestic violence, these are the types of protection from abuse orders:
- Emergency order — If you need an order after the courts have closed, the police can put you in touch with a magisterial district judge who is on call. This order is only good until the next business day, when you must file in court for a temporary order.
- Ex parte temporary order — When you file for a PFA, the judge gives you a temporary order based solely on your claims of abuse. The term ex parte means that the court has considered only one party’s side of the story. Because our justice system provides due process for the accused, the target of your restraining order has the right to appear in court, usually within 10 business days, to respond to your filing.
- Final PFA — After the hearing, at which both sides can present evidence and witnesses, the judge decides whether the PFA should be made permanent. If the judge issues the order, it is usually good for three years and may be extended for good cause.
A PFA offers significant protections against an abuser, including:
- Prohibits the abuser from approaching or contacting you or your children
- Removes the abuser from the home, even if the abuser owns the home
- Awards temporary custody of your minor children
- Orders the abuser to pay financial support
- Confiscates an abuser’s firearms and prohibits the abuser from purchasing firearms
- Orders restitution payments for your injuries
- Orders payment of your legal fees
Depending on your circumstances, you can request other appropriate relief for the judge to consider. An abuser who violates a restraining order is subject to fines and incarceration.
Contact a dedicated family law attorney in Easton for domestic violence issues
Richard J. Shiroff is a family law attorney who represents clients who are victims of domestic violence, as well as those accused of being abusers. Call me at 610-253-1023 or contact me online to schedule an appointment. My office is located at 724 Lehigh Street, just a short walk from the Northampton County Courthouse.