This is NOT legal advice. This is general information.
Note to Attorneys:
“The danger of violence, including the risk of death, escalates when a domestic violence survivor attempts to leave a batterer. Seeking legal assistance is a step towards independence, which threatens a batterer’s sense of power and control and may lead to increased violence. If you represent a client who is planning to leave or to take any legal or financial steps to separate from a batterer, alert her to the increased likelihood of violence.”
– American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence
Separation Violence is real! It is important to know that the most dangerous time for a victim, any children, and those assisting her/him (e.g., law enforcement officers, attorneys), is when she/he leaves. Safety planning is essential. Speak with an advocate trained in domestic violence to develop your own personalized safety plan.
Protection From Abuse Order ('PFA')
A PFA, or Protection From Abuse order, is a civil court order that prohibits abusive behavior. To file for a PFA Order in Montgomery County you must file in person at the Courthouse.
The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence provides several resources on PFAs that might be helpful to review before applying for an order:
In Montgomery County, through its Legal Advocacy Project, non-lawyer advocates from the Women’s Center of Montgomery County provide assistance to individuals seeking Protection from Abuse Orders and provide court accompaniment to victims.
PALawHelp.org provides legal information, referrals to legal service providers and information about local courts on numerous topics, including child custody, and child support.
PALawHelp also currently has the following documents for use in Pennsylvania courts:
Pennsylvania Complaint for Custody
Pennsylvania Petition for Modification or Contempt of a Custody Order
LawHelp Interactive forms are for low-income people, who cannot pay for legal assistance and their non-profit advocates. Commercial use is strictly forbidden.