Change of Heart: When the Parties No Longer Want a PFA

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Feb 19, 2023 | 0 Comments

Under Pennsylvania's Protect for Abuse Act, victims of alleged familial or partner abuse can seek court orders that protect them from the abuser. This type of order is known as a Protect From Abuse Order or a “PFA” order. Every PFA order will depend on the facts surrounding the allegations but typically they seek to restrain the alleged abuser from contacting the victim. Defendants may be ordered out of the home, may not be required to contact the victim, travel near their place of work or school, etc. Although the purpose of the act is to protect abused persons, sometimes people may exaggerate arguments or seek a PFA order for illegitimate reasons. In instances where the PFA order was sought to annoy or harass the defendant, the requesting party may develop a sense of guilt and wish that they had not pursued the order to begin with. This is often the case for couples who are frequently quarreling and stuck in an unhealthy pattern of spiteful behavior. But what happens if there is an active PFA order and you have made up? Can you contact the protected party if they consent?

Only A Judge Can Drop A PFA Order

Although you may have “made up” with the requesting party, a PFA remains in full force and effect until a court legally withdraws an order. In other words, only a judge can drop a PFA order and the parties involved do not have the authority to drop or cancel the order. Although this may seem unfair, the process is also designed to protect victims, who, absent such a court order, might willingly return to their abusive partner. If the requesting party is attempting to contact you and let you know that they feel bad about the order or made a mistake etc., do not talk to them.

Even though it may seem harmless, you can face serious penalties for violating a court order that is still in place. Rather, you should speak with a qualified attorney, our Criminal Law Team, immediately. LLF Law Firm and our Criminal Defense Team at the LLF Law Firm can work with the requesting party's attorney and the court to withdraw the order. In instances where the petitioner requests that the court drop the order, the court will hold a hearing where they examine whether it is safe to withdraw the PFA. The court will typically want to hear from the petitioner and ensure that they are seeking to terminate the order for legitimate reasons rather than out of fear or coercion. Above all, the court will want to ensure that the requesting party is truly safe and that there is no need for a PFA order moving forward. Only then can you and the requesting party legally resume contacting one another.

Want Out Of A PFA? Call The LLF Law Firm Today

If you would like help withdrawing a PFA order, our Criminal Defense Team at the LLF Law Firm can help. Our Criminal Law Team knows the law and knows how to advocate for you inside the courtroom. Don't hesitate. Call us today at (888) 535-3686 or contact us online.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania as well as in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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The LLF Law Firm Team has decades of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the LLF Law Firm today! Our Criminal Defense Team will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

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