Can we go to couple’s therapy while she has a PFA order?

Q: I am not living in the house with her and she has a PFA order on me. I am told she is willing to go to therapy with me. I am so pleased but want to be careful. (Pittsburgh, PA)

A:  Probably not. Have your attorney or an attorney review the order. It is doubtful that it has carved out an exception for couple’s therapy. If it is the standard PFA Order, no contact means no contact. If there is contact, in any form, it is the Allegheny County Iron Hilton for you. She would need to petition the court to either vacate or modify the PFA order if you want to go anywhere with her. You should probably consult with a lawyer.

What happens when a PFA victim contacts the guy?

Q: There was a PFA put on him while he was in jail, that he wasn’t a part of because it was an alleged domestic situation. She has been contacting him to see his child and asked him to be around. If she allows him over numerous of times, is she in violation? (West Mifflin, PA)

A:  No, he should avoid her like the proverbial plague. PFA law is a one-way street. The law is designed to protect the victim and no contact means no contact. There is no in between. He would be arrested if he visits her, an argument breaks out and she calls the police. Now, once he is arrested on the PFA violation, he can use her contacting him to establish that the PFA was void by her actions, at his trial. If he wants to be safe, get her attorney to file a motion to vacate the PFA.

Can I drop a PFA?

Q: How can I go about dropping a three year PFA. People are telling me that the judge will not drop it. The PFA is for physical and mental abuse. There have been many times I wanted to contact him but they said I will go to jail if I contact him?

A:  “They” may not telling you the truth, and may be telling you this out of their concern for your safety. To “drop” the Protection From Abuse Order, you need to hire a lawyer and go to court with a Petition to Terminate PFA. Be prepared for the judge to ask you questions about your state of mind, the history of abuse and the prospect of the cycle repeating itself. If there is any chance that abuse may continue you may want to look into counseling before you do this.