Protection From Abuse (PFA) Orders
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What is a Protection From Abuse (PFA) Order?
A Protection From Abuse Order (PFA) is a civil court action intended to bring about an end of the abuse toward you and/or your minor child/ren.
TO QUALIFY for a Protection From Abuse Order you and the person you want restrained must be intimate partners or household members, meaning you must:
• Be residing together OR
• Have formerly resided together OR
• Be the parent of or living with a child who has suffered abuse by the party you are attempting to restrain OR
• Have a child in common OR
• Be in or have been in a dating relationship AND
• The person has intentionally attempted to cause you or a child bodily injury, or intentionally or recklessly caused bodily injury OR
• The person has intentionally placed, by physical threat, you or a child, in fear of imminent bodily injury OR
• The person has engaged in certain sexual conduct with a child under 16 years of age who is not the spouse of the offender.
How to Apply for a PFA Order
• When the Court is closed, you may be able to obtain the application (petition) for an Emergency Order from your local law enforcement office, usually the Sheriff's Department.
• If you receive an Emergency Order, it will automatically expire at 5:00 p.m. on the next regular workday of the District Court.
• Forms for obtaining a PFA order are on-line at http://www.kscourts.org/Kansas-Courts/Judicial-Council/forms/protection-from-abuse.asp
• When the Court is open, you may obtain the application (petition) for a Temporary Order from the District Court Clerk's Office.
• The Court Clerk must verify your petition by witnessing your signature.
• You may be asked to talk with a judge about why you think the Protection Order is necessary. In some jurisdictions, the Clerk will present your petition to the judge.
• A Temporary Order is valid for up to 20 days. You must appear for the final hearing for the Protection From Abuse Order to be made final.
What Can Happen Under a PFA Order?
When you receive a Protection Order, the Court is empowered to order any or all of the following:
• Restraining the defendant from abusing, molesting or interfering with the privacy or rights of the plaintiff or of any minor children of the parties.
• Granting possession of the residence or household to the plaintiff, to the exclusion of the defendant.
• Requiring the defendant to provide suitable, alternate housing for the plaintiff and any minor children of the parties.
• Awarding custody and establishing a parenting plan with regard to minor children.
• Ordering a law enforcement officer to evict the defendant from the residence or household.
• Ordering support payments by a party for the support of a party's minor child or a party's spouse.
• Awarding costs and attorney fees to either party.
• Making provision for the possession of personal property of the parties and ordering a law enforcement officer to assist in securing possession of that property, if necessary.
• Requiring the person against whom the order is issued to seek counseling to aid in the cessation of abuse.
• Restraining the defendant from canceling utility service to residence for 60 days.
• Ordering or retraining any other acts necessary to promote the safety of the plaintiff and the minor children.
What is a Mutual Order and How Can it Hurt You?
A "mutual" order of protection prohibits BOTH parties from abusing, molesting, or interfering with the privacy or rights of each other. It may order that BOTH parties be refrained from contacting each other.
If a mutual order is issued against you, the petitioner, you may be criminally prosecuted for violating the order. Your batterer could trick you into violating the order so that the police will arrest you and charge you with a crime. The mutual order might be used against you in a custody or divorce case. If you are an immigrant, there may be additional negative consequences to having a mutual order. In Kansas, there are generally two ways a mutual order may be issued against you. One way is for the defendant to file a counter-petition saying you have abused him, have the petition served on you giving you reasonable notice, and then the court must make findings that you both were primary aggressors and neither of you acted in self-defense. The other way a mutual protection order may be issued against you is if you agree or consent to it. If a counter-petition is filed against you or you are urged to consent to a mutual order, think seriously about consulting an attorney who can review possible consequences with you..
What You Should Know
You can request that the PFA order be in effect for up to one year. You may file only two PFA petitions within a 12-month period. Your PFA order is not enforceable until it has been served on the defendant by authorized personnel. If the defendant violates the order before it is served, you can still call the police. The police will not be able to arrest him for violating the order, but they can still protect you. If the defendant needs to pick up personal property from the home, be prepared to tell the judge when that is convenient for you. The defendant must have a police escort if he needs to come to the home for personal belongings. The defendant can be ordered to pay child or spousal support. Take time before the second hearing to make a list of expenses and how much you will be asking for. You may be asked to complete this information at the time you file your petition if you are asking for support. You can ask for court-ordered counseling for the defendant. If there are children, the Court may require you to file a temporary parenting plan with the petition and/or final order. Be precise about visitation times, location and duration. Avoid vague language such as "reasonable." If you are requesting no visitation or supervised visitation with the defendant, be prepared to explain to the judge why such an order is necessary. The Court may also ask you to provide information about where the children have been living for the last few months. Your PFA order is enforceable where it is issued and in all other jurisdictions. This includes all 50 states, Indian tribal lands, the District of Columbia, the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam. Advocates may be available to assist you with the filing of your PFA order, accompany you to court and provide information to you and your children. Call your local domestic violence and/or sexual assault program for assistance. The information on this page is a summary of the law. For more information or legal advice, you should seek the assistance of an attorney.
ALWAYS KEEP YOUR COPY OF THE PFA ORDER WITH YOU!
IN AN EMERGENCY CALL 911!
For support, call the domestic violence and/or sexual assault program nearest you
26. Wichita Domestic Violence Catholic Charities Harbor House
27. Wichita Domestic Violence Stepping Stone
28. Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center
29. Wichita Domestic Violence YWCA Women's Crisis Center
the KANSAS CRISIS HOTLINE at: 1-888-END ABUSE (1-888-363-2287)
or the NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE at: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).