What Is a Protection From Abuse (PFA) Order?
In Maine, Protection from Abuse cases are also known as restraining order cases. People that get them are family and household members. Now, the Protection from Abuse actions in Maine are statutory, which means there’s a legislative process to obtain a Protection from Abuse Order or a restraining order. A person who is claiming that they’ve been abused by a family or household member – it’s quite an informal process at first. They can go to the Clerk’s Office. The Clerk’s Office will assist them in this rare instance. They usually don’t assist. They can assist, but in this one instance, they’ve been legislatively permitted to assist.
A person claiming to have been abused files a complaint, which has a lot of biographical information – information that determines whether they comply or whether they are family or household members to the person accused of committing the abuse. It talks about children of the parties or other children living in the household. There is a place for a brief narrative as to the abuse that occurred. Then there are some requests for relief, which often include no contact, direct or indirect, with the plaintiff, the person bringing the action.
Often the children are included in the households in that prohibition. Often there’s that prohibition against firearms, and the person has to turn them over to someone else who certifies that they have them or deliver them to a police department.