What Should I Do If Served a PFA?
This is very, very important. First, you need to comply with the order. It’s an order from the court. Even the person who brought the complaint against you, if it’s an ex spouse or parent of a child, they have no authority to permit you to violate the order even if they want to, say it’s okay, say they intend to dismiss it. You have to follow the order first because you’ll get arrested for violating the order even if the plaintiff requested you to come over to talk to them or something. That’s very, very important.
Then you have to concentrate on defending yourself. These cases move very, very quickly. Again, as the defendant, the person who the action is brought against, since you probably didn’t know it was even occurring until the Temporary Order issued, you’ve the right to move the case up to have an earlier hearing since you didn’t get a word in edgewise, so to speak. That can be a very important right that you have, especially if contact with children has been interrupted, or there is an undisclosed but rampant drug problem on the part of the other side, or there’s safety issues that you have concerns about. First, you want to remember that you have the right to move it up.
Second, you have to gear up, I guess is a good way to say it, to litigate the issue. Even if you don’t move it up, they still have final hearings usually within three weeks. That’s an incredibly short amount of time to get ready for a hearing, subpoena witnesses, interview witnesses, gather documents that might be admissible or useful. That’s a very short window of time within which to prepare for a hearing that has ramifications far into the future.