an woman who was being abused orders a PFA against her boyfriend, but then goes around him afterwards. is the PFA now null and void?
Child Custody Lawyer
The police won't think so, if they're called! Only two things can make a PFA order null and void: expiring on its final date as identified in the order, or being vacated by a judge. Period.
The PFA plaintiff is in no trouble for violating the order, since it exists to protect *her* and not the defendant. This puts the defendant in a precarious situation, if he permits the contact. Even if the contact was consensual, even if the defendant might not be found guilty of Indirect Criminal Contempt after a hearing, that doesn't change the reality that the plaintiff can have the defendant arrested and jailed (pending hearing) on the strength of a telephone call. I know of a case in which a defendant sent flowers to his former girlfriend (the PFA plaintiff), resulting in his arrest. Take PFAs seriously.
While I recognize that not all PFA situations are created equal, without knowing more of the facts the best advice I can offer a PFA defendant who is willing to allow the contact you describe without first going back to court to revisit the order, is "If you *must* proceed, proceed with caution." Consider the duplicity inherent in the actions of a PFA plaintiff who is comfortable enough to initiate contact with the one she is supposed to be protected from, but who is unwilling to lift the PFA.
Sometimes, in a situation like this, a "middle ground" solution is available: both parties agree to modify the PFA by removing the no-contact provisions, while retaining the no-abuse provisions. If you decide to go this route, the reality remains that (1) you're playing with fire, (2) any modifications of the PFA *must* come from a judge, and (3) the PFA defendant would be well-advised to keep a copy of the modified order on his person at all times.
Attorney Michael B. Greenstein
This response is offered for informational purposes only, does not create a lawyer/client relationship, and should not be taken as legal advice.