How Long Does a Protection Order Last?

Posted on December 23rd, 2021 in Family Law

With the Protection From Abuse Act, Pennsylvania made it possible for anyone suffering abuse in their home, or a parent to a child suffering abuse in their home, to see their abuser removed from their life. This can be done with a Protection From Abuse (PFA) order, or a protection order, that can be filed with anyone’s local Court of Common Pleas Family Division. You can find your local court here.

Protection orders legally require abusers to not only cease their activity, but to remove themselves from the home, and relieve themselves of tools they can use to hurt you. But protection orders are temporary, and how long they can last depends on the type of protection order they are. The type that you receive depends on where you are in the court process. An anti-domestic violence attorney can assist you in navigating all three.

What Are the Types of Protection Orders?

The three types of protection orders are emergency, temporary PFA, and final PFA orders. They are all temporary, but how long they can last varies greatly. The important thing to note is that in most cases, to receive a final PFA, you must first receive an emergency order or a temporary PFA order. You can get an emergency order or a temporary PFA order the day you file depending on the circumstances. Emergency orders are given when the courts are closed and you can’t wait until the next day. Temporary PFA orders are when you can.

Emergency orders remain effective only until the next business day following the issuance of the order and temporary PFA orders last 10 days on average. Both offer the same protections. The difference between them is the circumstances in which they are acquired. On the eleventh day, unless there are extenuating circumstances, you and your abuser are to meet in court. These protection orders not only give you immediate legal protection, but they also give you and your abuser time to find legal representation for your court date.

If you and your representation convince the court that there has been abuse in your home, they will grant you a final PFA order. These last up to 36 months (3 years), until there is another hearing where it can be renewed or extended. Some protections you receive, such as the requirement for an abuser to give up firearms and their firearm license, may not last all three years.

What Can Extend the Length of a Protection Order?

There are several situations that can lead to a protection order being extended. There isn’t anything that would extend one type of protection order but not the others.

  • Your abuser breaks any of the restrictions a protection order placed on them. This is grounds for their arrest and an extension on your protection order.
  • Your abuser behaves in a way before your court day that makes you and the court realistically believe they will break the current restrictions of the protection order.
  • Illness befalls you, your abuser, your representation, or someone that one of you must care for.
  • Your abuser is in or recently was in prison or jail in the last 90 days.
  • Any extenuating circumstance that would leave you, your abuser, or your representation unable to attend a court date. Consult with an attorney what would constitute a reasonable extenuating circumstance.

If your protection order is extended, there is no limit to how long or how many times it can be extended. It will be until there is reasonable proof that you and/or your child is safe from them.

You Have an Ally and an Advocate in an Experienced Anti-Domestic Violence Attorney

An anti-domestic violence attorney can file for a protection order on your and your children’s behalf if you are unable to, and represent you in court to assure you get the final PFA order you need. Craig Kalinoski is that attorney, and at Kalinoski Law Offices is available to assist with whatever you may need. To arrange a confidential, free consultation, or to get help filing for a protection order, contact us online or call (570) 207-4000.

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