Who Can Obtain a PFA?

As a Family Law Attorney in Berks County, Pennsylvania, Attorney Guillama is often asked whether or not an individual can obtain an order preventing contact with someone that the client wishes to stay away from.

It is important to first understand that individuals in Pennsylvania cannot simply obtain a Protection From Abuse Order (PFA) against anybody they choose, irrespective of whether abuse actually occurred or not. Specifically, "abuse" must occur between "family or household members", "sexual or intimate partners" or "persons who share biological parenthood". "Family or household members" is defined as being spouses or persons who have been spouses, persons living as spouses or have lived as spouses, parents and children, other persons related by consanguinity or affinity, and current or former sexual or intimate partners or persons who share biological parenthood.

Naturally, "sexual or intimate partners" simply refers to individuals who had a romantic relationship with one another and persons who share "biological parenthood" would refer to brothers, sisters, step-brothers, step-sisters, half-brothers and half-sisters.

The bottom line is that there must be a distinct personal relationship between the individuals for whom the PFA is sought. This means that even if an individual is legitimately abused or harassed by another individual, if one of the aforementioned relationships does not exist, then the Court simply does not have the power to enter a PFA between the two of them.

Should you have any questions with regards to whether or not there is a sufficient personal relationship with another individual such that the Court can issue a Protection From Abuse Order, feel free to contact Reading Attorney Joseph A. Guillama.