A PFA order is an extension of the Protection from Abuse Act, which ensures that a harassed or abused partner and any children are protected under law. A PFA order is filed when there is an allegation of abuse, harassment, or threats of violence from a spouse, former spouse, common-law spouse, or parent of a shared child.
What does a PFA order do?
While not the same as a divorce, a PFA order does form a legal separation in attempt to protect the filing party from abuse. If obtained, A PFA order is used to restrict the accused party from abusing, threatening abuse, or contacting you in any way, even via a third party. A PFA order also makes it illegal for the other party to visit your home, place of business, or any other place you frequent.
Violating a PFA order is a Class A misdemeanor which can be punished with up to $2,000 in fines and up to a year in jail. If you obtain a PFA order, the accused party will be served with papers regarding a court hearing, which will be held approximately two weeks later. While you are waiting for the court hearing, and at any time after you have obtained a PFA order, you have the right to enforce it. If the accused party tries to see you or contact you, you have the right to call your local authorities immediately for legal assistance and protection.
Why should you seek a PFA order?
If you are being abused, harassed, or threatened with violence by a spouse, former spouse, common-law spouse, or parent of a shared child, you may allege abuse and file for a PFA order. Even if you suspect abuse or violence, you may be able to convince the magistrate that you and any children you might have are in danger. If you seek a PFA order, it’s critical to remember that this does not necessarily protect you from acts of abuse. It merely provides a legal barrier between you and the accused party, making it more difficult for them to see or contact you, but not making it impossible.
How to obtain a PFA order
An attorney might be helpful, but is not necessary for obtaining a PFA order. Filing a PFA is free and is as simple as visiting the local circuit court and asking for the necessary paperwork. You can complete the paperwork immediately and then meet with the magistrate to explain your situation. In the event that the magistrate believes your case, a PFA order will be issued immediately. Once this happens, a sheriff will be dispatched to visit the accused party as soon as possible.
If you have any questions regarding the process of obtaining a PFA order, or about the implications that follow for you, your family, and the accused party, please do not hesitate to speak with our legal team by calling (205) 623-1001.
Please remember, a PFA order may help to protect you from abuse, but it does not prevent abuse from happening. If you believe you are in immediate danger of abuse or violence, please call 911 or the 24-hour shelter hotline 256-716-1000 to find a safe shelter in your area.
The Zwiebel Law Firm, LLC
826 Columbiana Road
Birmingham, AL 35209
Phone: (205) 623-1001