Protection From Abuse Series (Part 2)

May 13, 2024 | By Adam Tanker

Filing the Protection From Abuse Petition, Appearing for an Ex-Parte Hearing, and Receiving a Temporary Order of Protection


Once an abused party decides that they are in need of a Protection From Abuse Order (“PFA Order”), the first step is filing the Petition.


The Petition allows the abused party to summarize the events of the current abuse as well as describe past instances of abuse. 

It is important to include as many details and facts as possible and be as thorough as possible. At the time of the final hearing, if certain facts are not included in the Petition, they may not be considered by the Court.  In a non-emergency situation, the Petition is filed at the County Courthouse – the earlier in the day the better. In emergent situations, especially during off hours, a Petition may be filed with the County on-call District Justice.

The Petition allows an abused party to request the court to order that the abuser cannot have any contact with them, directly, indirectly, or through third parties.  In addition, the Petition allows an abused party to request the court to exclude the abuser from certain locations, protect other household members from the abuser, award temporary custody, take away weapons, and Order financial support to be paid.

Ex-Parte Hearing

Once the Petition is filed, the court will hold an ex-parte Hearing, usually that same day.  Ex-parte means that only one side presents evidence.  The court will review the petition and the abused party may offer uncontested testimony about what happened.  At this point in the process, the abuser is usually not aware that a hearing is being held. 

Temporary Order of Protection

Assuming the Court finds evidence of abuse, a temporary PFA Order will be issued, and a full hearing will be scheduled within 10 days, at which point the abuser will be able to defend the allegations in court. The abuser is served with the Petition and Notice of Hearing. If they possess firearms, they must be surrendered to the local Sheriff within 24 hours.  In the event the court does not issue a temporary PFA Order, a hearing will still be scheduled, and the abused party can make another request for a Protection Order at the time of the full hearing.

It is important that the Protection From Abuse Petition is thorough, factually specific, and accurate.  The experienced PFA attorneys at Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel, LLP can help you file a Protection from Abuse Petition or defend a claim made against you.

The information contained in this publication should not be construed as legal advice, is not a substitute for legal counsel, and should not be relied on as such. For legal advice or answers to specific questions, please contact one of our attorneys.


About the Authors

Adam Tanker


Doylestown Family Law Litigation Attorney Adam is a highly regarded and seasoned family law litigation attorney serving the greater Doylestown, PA area.  His practice includes prenuptial agreements, custody, domestic abuse and protection...

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