ONE PLACE Family justice center

530 S. Lawrence Street | Montgomery, AL  36104
Phone 334.262.7378

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PROTECTION
FROM ABUSE

Eligible clients of ONE PLACE may receive free legal assistance and representation for a variety of civil legal needs, particularly in filing a Protection From Abuse petition, related to their safety and flowing from issues of domestic violence, sexual violence, dating violence, stalking, child and elder abuse. 



Assistance Provided by Legal Services Alabama & Family Violence Clinic-Thomas Goode Jones School of Law


What is a Protection
from Abuse Order or P.F.A.?

A Protection from Abuse Order is a court order issued based upon a petition filed under the Protection From Abuse Act (PFA) that provides specific protection for persons who have been threatened, harassed, or physically abused by a spouse, former spouse, dating or former dating partner, person with whom they have a child in common, a parent, a child, or a former household member.  The abuse may be in the form of domestic violence, sexual violence, dating violence or stalking.

For more information download F.A.Q.'s on
Protection From Abuse Orders.

A Protection from Abuse Order is a court order issued based upon a petition filed under the Protection From Abuse Act (PFA) that provides specific protection for persons who have been threatened, harassed, or physically abused by a spouse, former spouse, dating or former dating partner, person with whom they have a child in common, a parent, a child, or a former household member.  The abuse may be in the form of domestic violence, sexual violence, dating violence or stalking.





We Can Assist - The Process

Step 1 After meeting and discussing the merits of the case with a client and relief that might be available, our attorneys can file a Protection from Abuse petition for a client wishing out representation.

Step 2 When a PFA is filed with the Court, the case is assigned to a Circuit Judge who will decided whether or not to issue a temporary emergency order granting the client certain limited relief such as a restraining order prohibiting the abuser from committing further abuse.  The judge may also include an order granting temporary custody of children and/or possession of the home.

Step 3 If the judge grants emergency relief, the initial petition and the temporary order will be served upon the abuser.

Step 4 After the abuser is served with the court papers, the court will then schedule a trial date at which time the One Place Family Justice Center lawyer will represent the client in court.  

Step 5 At the trial, both parties will have an opportunity to tell the judge their version of what happened and present witnesses and other evidence concerning the abuse.

Step 6 After the trial, the judge will decide if the PFA protection order needs to continue in place and if so, for how long and under what conditions.  The judge may issue an order that lasts for only a relatively short period of time or may issue one that lasts forever.  The judge's order may also include an order of custody and visitation; an order concerning possession of the residence and/or an automobile; and event, in rare circumstances, an order of child support.

The value of a Protection Order

While a PFA protection order is only a piece of paper it is not an absolute guarantee that an abuser will stop committing acts of domestic violence, it does provide certain valuable protections from victims and survivors of domestic violence.

1.  While ordering an abuser not to commit additional acts of abuse may seem to be of little use, it is a court order and most people generally realized that violating a court order will get them in trouble.  In that way it does generally act as a deterrent to many abusers.

2.  However, a violation of a protection order is a crime in and of itself, even if the prohibited behavior does not otherwise rise to the level of a crime.  For instance, if the order prohibits your abuser from coming to your home or within 1,000 feet of you and your abuser shows up at your front door with a dozen red roses and a box of chocolates, he is violating the law and committing a crime for which he can be arrested on the spot and before he has another chance to hurt you.

3.  Furthermore, if you have a protection order and have to call 911 and tell the operator that you have a PFA protection order, the case for service generally will be a higher priority call, and the police response is likely to be swifter and more certain. 



Areas a Protection From Abuse Order May Help


Restrain the defendant from committing or threatening to commit acts of abuse, or from harassing, annoying, telephoning, contacting or otherwise communicating directly or indirectly with the victim or other designated persons.


Award the victim temporary custody of any minor children and restrain the abuser from removing the children from the victim's custody.


Prohibit the defendant from selling, disposing, destroying, hiding or mortgaging mutually owned or leased real estate or personal property.


Remove the defendant from the residence, regardless of who owns the residence;


Order other relief as necessary to provide the safety and protection of the victim;


Order the defendant to stay away from the victim's residence and place of work or other designated places or persons and more at the Court's discretion.


ONE PLACE  FAMILY JUSTICE CENTER

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