Need help? Call our 24-hour Hotline: 1‑800‑642‑3150 OR Text "HOPE" to 85511

Legal Options

Please note that this page is informational only. It is not legal advice.


"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

Safety First!

Separation violence is real! It is important to know that one of the most dangerous time for a victim, any children, and those assisting her/him (e.g., law enforcement officers, attorneys), is when they leave. Safety planning is essential. Speak with an a trained advocate to develop your own personalized safety plan. If an advocate is needed, call our 24-Hour hotline at 1-800-642-3150.

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 Montgomery County Courthouse.

The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV) provides several resources on PFAs that might be helpful to review before applying for an order. Click on the link below for access.

Information for Completing the Petition

Free legal representation is available to those who qualify through the Legal Aid of Southeastern PA

In Montgomery County, through Laurel's House's Domestic Abuse Response Team (DART) and the Women's Center of Montgomery County Legal Advocacy Project, non-lawyer advocates provide assistance to individuals seeking Protection from Abuse Orders and provide court accompaniment to victims.

Child Custody provides legal information, referrals to legal service providers and information about local courts on numerous topics, including child custody, and child support.

PALawHelp also has the following documents for use in Pennsylvania courts:

  • Pennsylvania Complaint for Custody
  • Pennsylvania Petition for Modification or Contempt of a Custody Order
  • Interactive forms, for those that qualify as low-income and who cannot afford legal representation. Commercial use is strictly forbidden.
Child and Spousal Support

Montgomery County has a page on their website dedicated to child and spousal support.

The PA Department of Public Welfare website also has a dedicated PA Children Support Program page.

On this page you will find the PA Child Support Handbook, which contains information about the following topics:

  • Pennsylvania Child Support Program
  • Domestic Violence: Addressing Safety Risks in the Support Process
  • Child Support and Cash Assistance
  • Establishing Paternity for Your Child is in Your Hands
  • Receiving Child Support
  • Paying Child Support
  • Medical Support
  • Free or Low Cost Health Insurance- CHIP and adultBasic
  • Child Support Resources and Telephone Numbers
Additional Resources

Additional legal support and information for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault may be found at: