Reconciling After a PFA

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Mar 07, 2022 | 0 Comments

A Protection From Abuse Order, or PFA, is a civil proceeding in Pennsylvania that protects a plaintiff from communication and harassment by a defendant. It is similar to a restraining order that a judge issues when they believe that a defendant poses a risk to the filer.

In some cases, however, a plaintiff may choose to request a withdrawal of a PFA before a judge issues final orders. That’s the case with reality TV star Gina Kirschenheiter, who filed a PFA against her estranged husband, Matt Kirschenheiter, after allegations of domestic violence made headlines last year.

The Real Housewives of Orange County star alleged that Kirschenheiter choked, hit, and threw her on the ground, threatening to kill her. He pleaded guilty to domestic battery charges, after which Gina dropped the PFA. Her boyfriend, Travis Mullen, reportedly helped the pair make amends, prompting her to take constructive action for the sake of the estranged couple's three children.

Is It Possible to Reconcile After a PFA in Pennsylvania?

In many cases, a PFA is necessary to prevent domestic abuse and harassment, especially between family members, intimate partners, spouses, and stalkers.

However, mistakes do happen, and plaintiffs have the opportunity to withdraw the PFA after a reconciliation. The process differs based on the county. In some, the filer must present a formal motion to vacate the PFA at court. In others, the plaintiff needs to request that a PFA administrator fill out the necessary paperwork in court in their place.

Regardless of the county, the filer still must explain to the judge why they decided to withdraw the PFA. This step is necessary because many filers may feel pressured or coerced into taking this action by family members. Judges may refuse to drop the PFA regardless of the filer's request if they believe this is the scenario.

Violating the Terms of a PFA

Violating the terms of a PFA comes with grave consequences, landing the defendant in hot water if the judge discovers that they initiated contact with the filer.

Even if you have the best intentions or believe that the issue has a better resolution, the judge must dismiss the PFA before you attempt to contact the plaintiff. Disregarding or violating the terms of a PFA comes with a fine, a prison sentence, and damage to your reputation.

Contact a PA Attorney

If you have a PFA order in PA and reconciliation is on the table, you must speak with an attorney before taking action. Violating a PFA Order may lead to Indirect Criminal Contempt, and you'll exacerbate an already-tense situation with the wrong approach.

The good news is that you don't have to go through this stressful process alone. LLF Law Firm can help you navigate the complex legalities involved with a PFA and strive to minimize the potential damage it can incur to your record and your life.

Don't wait until it's too late to take action - contact Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 today for more information about your options.

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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