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Protection From Abuse
Civil / Family / Motion / Miscellaneous Court Division

A Protection from Abuse (PFA) Order is a Court Order that protects victims of domestic violence from abuse, specifically physical injury or threats of physical injury. The Family Court Office provides clerical assistance with preparing and filing court papers for people seeking a PFA Order.

Who May File

A person may file a Petition for a PFA against an intimate partner or family member. Here are some examples:

  • Spouses or former spouses
  • Current or former sexual or intimate partners
  • Household members related by blood
  • Household members related by marriage
  • Same sex couples
  • Parents and children

** A person under the age of 18 must have a parent, guardian ad litem, or an adult household memember file on his or her behalf.

The PFA Act does not apply to disputes between strangers, landlords and tenants, neighbors, roommates, co-workers, or classmates.

How To File

Go to the Family Court Office at the Lehigh County Courthouse, Room 423, 455 West Hamilton Street, Allentown, Pennsylvania between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. Monday through Friday, except for legal holidays. Cases are processed on a first-come first-served basis. Staff may not provide legal advice. This is a lengthy process and it may take several hours to complete.

Persons arriving after 12:15 p.m. will be provided instructions for seeking a Temporary and/or Emergency PFA Order.

What To Expect When Filing:

Prepare A Petition

Complete a Petition for PFA and give it to the Family Court Office.

Appear Before A Judge

You will be taken before a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas who will hold an ex parte (only one party) hearing. The Judge will review your papers and ask you questions.

Filing Temporary Orders

If your Petition for PFA is granted, you will be instructed to wait in a designated area while a Family Court Staff member files your Petition for PFA and Temporary PFA Order with the Clerk of Judicial Records.

Serving The Defendant

After the Petition for PFA and Temporary PFA Order are filed with the Clerk of Judicial Records, a Sheriff's Deputy will notify the Defendant that an Order has been issued by handing a copy of the Petition for PFA and Temporary PFA Order to him or her.  You may receive a telephone call from the Sheriff's Department if they need additional information from you about the Defendant. The Sheriff's Department will notify the police departments in the jurisdictions (areas) in which you live and work that an order has been issued by the Court.

Leaving The Courthouse

Before leaving the Courthouse, you will receive a copy of your Petition for PFA and Temporary PFA Order.  You should keep this copy with you at all times.

Final Hearing

If you are granted a Temporary Order, a final hearing will be scheduled within (10) business days. Both parties attend the final hearing. Evidence and witnesses may be presented to the Judge for consideration. You may wish to have your attorney represent you at the court hearing.

Emergency Protection from Abuse Order

An Emergency Protection From Abuse Order can be requested after 12:15 p.m. until the close of business daily at the office of your Magisterial District Judge. After business hours and on weekends, your police department can connect you with the "on duty" Magisterial District Judge. If you are granted an Emergency PFA Order, your Order will expire the next business day. If you want a Temporary PFA Order, go to the Lehigh County Family Court Office between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. and file a Petition for PFA.

Violations (Contempt)

Violations of Temporary or Final Orders are considered contempt of Court and are scheduled for a hearing before a Judge. All violations of Temporary or Final PFA Order should be reported promptly to your local law enforcement agency to enforce the Order.

Resources

PFA Office, Lehigh County Court:
610-782-3390 / Contact Information

Turning Point (Domestic Violence assistance)
Hot Line 610-437-3369
http://www.tplv.org

Find your Magisterial District Judge

Tracking address: Tracking code - do not email: crt6-ccbbda@users1.lccpa.org (do not email this address - tracking purposes only)

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Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas, 455 West Hamilton Street, Allentown, PA 18101-1614 • (610) 782-3000