Do I need a lawyer for a Pennsylvania domestic violence hearing?

In Pennsylvania, domestic violence hearings are referred to as Protection From Abuse (PFA) hearings, and are handled in family court. A Protection from Abuse proceeding actually involves two hearings; a temporary PFA Hearing, at which an interim Order is entered, and a Final PFA hearing, at which a longer term PFA Order may be issued.

In either case, you should retain a lawyer to represent you. A PFA hearing is a serious legal proceeding, at which witnesses may be called and evidence may be presented. Although you are permitted to represent yourself in court, court personnel cannot answer your questions, and many of them are not lawyers. The Judge is there to make legal rulings, but cannot advise you about legal strategy and how to best present your case.

A Protection from Abuse order can significantly impact your rights regarding possession of a home, custody of minor children and child or spousal support. A domestic violence order can also impact your employment in any position that requires a security background check or possession of a weapon.

To file an initial PFA in Allegheny County (during business hours) you (and your Allegheny County PFA lawyer) should go to the third floor of the Family Court facility between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. to fill out the petition, after which you will appear before the PFA judge to request that the Court enter a temporary PFA Order. If it is after hours, you can go to night court or to your local district magistrate. If an emergency situation is occurring, you should contact the police for assistance. An experienced Allegheny County domestic violence attorney can help you to manage the process and answer any questions that you may have.

To learn how our Pittsburgh family law firm can help you during this difficult time, call us today at 412-281-9906, toll free at 1-844-VARI-LAW or send us an e-mail. One of our experienced Allegheny County family court lawyers will be glad to offer you advice on what is in your best interests and that of any children in your family.

Our Pittsburgh PFA Attorneys routinely accept cases in Allegheny County, Beaver County, Berks County, Butler County, Clearfield County, Washington County, and Westmoreland County. Our law firm accepts Pennsylvania family law cases from other Pennsylvania counties including Clarion County, Fayette County, Greene County, Indiana County, Lawrence County, Mercer County, Venango County on a case-by-case basis.

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