How Does a Protection from Abuse (PFA) Order Work?

Are you frequently concerned about your safety or the safety of your children due to the potential threat of physical, mental, or emotional abuse? If so, a Protection from Abuse (PFA) order may be an option for you.

In Pennsylvania, a PFA order from a court gives protective “relief” for a victim (and sometimes their children) for a period of up to three years (for final orders). A person can file for a PFA order from the court for themselves, or on behalf of their minor children. A PFA describes various types of protections for the victim. PFAs are powerful legal protections that can safeguard people who are facing abuse in any form – by prohibiting contact, barring access to residences and granting possession of property. Because PFAs tremendously affect victims’ safety and well-being, it is crucial to understand how they work. Let the attorneys at Lepley, Engelman, Yaw and Wilk LLC help educate you on what it is, how it can help, and navigate you through the filing process.

What is a Protection from Abuse (PFA) Order, and why is it necessary?

A Protection from Abuse (PFA) Order is a court order that lets a person obtain legal protection from physical and/or emotional abuse. This order also authorizes a person to obtain certain rights related to family law, including the right to stay in their home and have contact with children involved in the situation. PFAs are necessary for anyone who is experiencing abuse so that they can receive protection from potential harm or further property damage. In addition, this type of order provides additional safeguards by legally restraining an abuser from making contact, which can help ensure a safe environment.

What types of relief are available through a PFA order?

A PFA order can provide a wide range of protection from abuse through court orders. Forms of relief may include requiring the abuser to stay away from places where they can access employers, schools, and other areas where the protected party may be. The PFA order also works to balance this protective measure by protecting the rights of both parties involved.

What is involved in the process of filing for a PFA order?

Filing for a Protection from Abuse (PFA) order is a critical first step that can help people facing domestic violence and abuse. Filing an order involves visiting a courthouse and completing paperwork asking for the desired form of protection. After the paperwork has been filed with the court, there is often a hearing or meeting to determine if the court will grant the PFA. In some cases, the court may give an emergency hearing or ruling that goes into effect immediately while they review the case before making any final decisions. Therefore, it's important to understand each state's laws and regulations surrounding PFAs to know all your rights and options when seeking protection from abuse.

Who can file for a PFA order?

For people to access this protection, any adult - 18 years of age or older - can file for the order. Anyone who is the victim of abuse, regardless of their relationship with the abuser, can also file, including family members, current or former partners, or those in cases where no romantic involvement exists. It is important to note that certain conditions must be met before a PFA can be filed with a court – primarily demonstrating that abuse has occurred and will likely continue without intervention. Nevertheless, filing for a PFA order can help bring peace and security to many who feel threatened and in danger.

How We Can Help

Our office can help you understand your options and fight for what’s best for you while understanding that this is one of the most challenging times of your life. Contact us today to discuss the unique aspects of your situation and your family's needs. Our team will fight for what’s in your best interest, now and in the future, if new challenges arise.


140 East Third Street, Williamsport (570) 323-3768
320 Market Street, Lewisburg (570) 522-0505
Northern Tier Pennsylvania (570) 673-4081
(800) 422-5396
Contact us today!