What is a Protection from Abuse Order (& How Can It Help You)?
While we all wish it weren't the case, not every marriage ends in a fairytale. In fact, amicable splits can be harder to come by than you might realize. With all that life you've lived together, figuring out how to maneuver the end of a marital union can be a tricky situation, especially when there's abuse in the picture.
If you've been a victim of domestic violence or other abuse, you may find solace in a Protection from Abuse Order (PFA). Here's the lowdown on a PFA, and how it may help you during your divorce or child custody proceedings.
What's a PFA?
A PFA is a direct protection from the court for partners and their children who experience physical, sexual or otherwise violent abuse. In this order, there are a number of behaviors that constitute abuse, including:
Physical harm with or without a weapon (or the attempt of it)
Abuse of a minor (physical or sexual)
Sexual assault or rape
Creating fear of harm
Stalking and inhibiting freedom of movement
More often than not, people seek a PFA during a divorce or child custody hearing. As such, it's entirely a matter of family law. You can file a PFA through your divorce attorney or the Berks County Court of Common Pleas. These orders can last anywhere from 24 hours to 3 years, depending on the severity of the abuse at hand.
How a PFA Can Impact Your Divorce
If you fear for your safety during a divorce, a PFA can help to ease your worried mind. By serving as a border between you and your spouse during the proceedings, you don't have to fret over whether your partner will take vengeance on you. It's a legal way to keep your spouse away from you, which—for many—can feel like a breath of fresh air.
A PFA can also affect the outcome of where assets land after the divorce is final. If someone has a PFA order against them, they're much less likely to wind up with the house and other marital possessions. So by taking out a PFA during your divorce, it's possible that you'll be granted exclusive possession of the marital home.
How a PFA Can Impact Your Custody Matter
Filing a PFA during a custody matter can affect the course of action in a couple of ways. This order has the potential to alter the outcome of the custody hearing as well as direct the proceedings as they occur.
Since a PFA is based in abuse, it inherently concerns the safety of the protected party. PFA orders can protect you and your children from potential abuse of any kind as the investigation moves forth. Moreover, it can be a deciding factor in the outcome of custody, as well as whether the protected party will achieve temporary custody while the court makes the final decision.
The Downsides to Filing a Protection from Abuse Order
Ordering a PFA is not all rainbows and butterflies. In fact, these things are a messy endeavor, and one that you should only submit yourself and your children to if necessary and not because you are mad, annoyed or because you think it will give you an upper hand in your pending divorce or custody hearings.
Once a PFA comes into the picture, the divorce or custody hearing automatically becomes more complicated, time consuming and expensive. If there's any chance for an amicable split or separation, a PFA can thin the possibility of getting along without any qualms. It can change the family dynamic for the worse and put your children or other loved ones in a sticky situation. As such, it's crucial to only make use of a PFA if you truly fear for your safety. Abuse of any kind is a frightening thing, so be honest with yourself if you feel your family is at risk.
An Honest Concern Requires an Honest Family Law Attorney
Domestic abuse is not to be taken lightly. According to NCADV, 37.7% of women and 27.5% of men in the state of Pennsylvania are victims of intimate partner violence. These stats include physical, sexual and stalking-based abuse. Now these metrics are seriously high, but with a massive 10 million people in the United States experiencing abuse in the home each year, it comes as no surprise.
If your concern is an honest one, you'll need a family law attorney that's just as transparent as you. At The Leges Group, our paramount concern is the well being of the families we work with. Maneuvering through a PFA in an expert manner is key, and we're bent on making the lives of our clients as easy as possible, even during a rough patch.
The Route to a Happy & Safe Life
You and your children deserve to live with a semblance of freedom and peace. If someone is blockading you from the harmony you deserve, you ought to do something about it. Keeping your family safe while you embark on your divorce or child custody proceedings is paramount. And if a PFA is what it takes to make that happen, The Leges Group is on your side.
When you need the assistance of an experienced family law attorney, divorce lawyer or child custody attorney, contact the Law Office of Nikolas D. Capitano, Esquire., The Leges Group LLC today at (610) 228-2828. We have a wealth of information at our fingertips and will aggressively help you protect your rights and the rights or your family.