5 Common PFA Misconceptions
Many people have misconceptions about Protection From Abuse (PFA) orders. As a result, they might accept a PFA instead of fighting it. Or they might violate the PFA unknowingly, resulting in criminal charges. Protect yourself by reading Spivak Law Firm’s five most common PFA misconceptions:
Misconception #1: “It doesn’t matter if I get a PFA because I don’t want to see the plaintiff anyway.
Even if you don’t want to have contact with the plaintiff, we strongly advise you to contest the PFA. A PFA stays on the civil docket and can haunt you for years, especially if you seek a job that requires a background check. Protect your future by hiring an experienced PFA attorney to try to get the PFA vacated, withdrawn, or dismissed.
Misconception #2: “The PFA means we can’t contact each other."
In fact, the PFA means the defendant cannot contact the plaintiff. But the plaintiff can contact the defendant because the PFA restricts the defendant only. If the plaintiff contacts you while the PFA remains in place, do not respond. The plaintiff could be setting a trap to get you arrested. The plaintiff may always seek to withdraw the PFA.
Misconception #3: “I won’t get in trouble for having somebody else tell the plaintiff to drop the PFA."
A PFA is a no-contact order. No contact includes physical contact as well as phone calls, texts, emails, faxes, and regular mail. It also includes third-party contact. Instructing another person to give any message whatsoever to the plaintiff is a violation of the PFA that could result in criminal charges.
Misconception #4: “A PFA can’t be used to take my kids away."
Plaintiffs sometimes misuse PFAs to gain leverage in child custody and divorce cases. Plaintiffs may temporarily receive sole custody of a child until the final PFA hearing, causing defendants to go weeks without seeing their kids. Custody provisions are often included in final PFAs that stay in place indefinitely.
Misconception #5: The plaintiff can’t afford a lawyer so I don’t need to get a lawyer either.
In many Pennsylvania counties, including Allegheny and Westmoreland Counties, plaintiffs are entitled to a free lawyer. In these counties, free lawyers are offered to all plaintiffs, not just low-income plaintiffs. Spivak Law Firm strongly advises defendants to hire an experienced PFA attorney to level the playing field.
To speak with an experienced PFA defense attorney, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.