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Your Guide To A PFA (Protection From Abuse)

Everyone deserves to feel safe, especially when they are in their homes. In Alabama, a Protection From Abuse Order (PFA) is for this purpose. They are meant to safeguard you from actual or attempted violent acts from a spouse or partner that you live with. These can be any crime against you or your children. The following are examples of situations that could warrant a PFA:

  • Assault 
  • Child abuse
  • Kidnapping
  • Stalking
  • Trespassing

Ex Parte Orders

When something is done ex parte, that means the judge can decide without needing to hear from everyone involved in the dispute. In other words, if your spouse has harmed you, you can successfully obtain an emergency PFA order without your spouse being present.

The critical element is that it is temporary. The purpose is to provide you and your children with immediate protection until a formal hearing can take place. Because the request is made without your spouse or partner having an opportunity to speak to the accusations, the order has to be temporary. 

Think of it as a way to give you protection while the matter goes through the court system. It is unreasonable to keep someone in a violent situation while waiting for a hearing. 


After the judge hears your request for a PFA, they will either grant or deny it. They may need time to render a decision, so it may not happen immediately after you and your attorney ask for it. Regardless of the outcome, a hearing will follow.

Even if the judge denies your request, you still have the opportunity to obtain one at the hearing, which will be conducted with all the parties involved. Because of the situation’s urgency, the hearing could take place within ten days of your attorney filing. Some family court dates are set months out (sometimes a year or more), but this timeline is very different from a PFA.

Empowered Family Law

PFA’s are usually sought out because of domestic violence. If this crime occurs during a divorce proceeding, your request for a PFA may happen alongside criminal and child custody cases. Empowered Family Law can help you navigate the complexities that are often caused when trying to figure out which court can address each issue. If you need reliable legal counsel to assist you with obtaining a PFA or a family law matter, contact us today for a consultation.

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With Empowered Family Law, you get an advocate who sees difficulties as opportunities for growth and emphasizes healing and problem-solving no matter how challenging your case.

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