The function of the Protection From Abuse (PFA) Office is to assist victims of domestic violence in the preparation and presentation of preliminary protection from abuse petitions and orders, as well as other PFA-related remedies, to the court. In doing so, the PFA Office acts as a link between the victim of domestic violence and the court.
PFA hearings are held at each Monday, Wednesday and Friday between the hours of 9:30 A.M. and Noon. PFA contempt hearings are held each Wednesday afternoon starting at 1:30 P.M. A person applying for a temporary PFA order must file a petition at the PFA Office prior to the court hearing time.
Upon arrival at the PFA Office, the applicant/plaintiff will be asked three questions to determine qualification:
- does the plaintiff reside, work in Lackawanna County
- what is the relationship between plaintiff and abuser
- what has the abuser done to warrant a protection order (description of the actual abuse)
If the applicant qualifies as a plaintiff in a PFA action, they will be asked to complete an information sheet that will be used to prepare the petition and court order. Petitions and orders may vary according to the victim’s circumstances.
One of the PFA Office staff members will sit with the applicant to assist in compiling the petition and court order. When the paperwork is completed, the plaintiff will be asked to read and sign the petition.
The plaintiff should report to the assigned courtroom for a preliminary hearing. The hearing will be presided over by a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas assigned to hear PFA petitions for that day. An ex-parte hearing is held. This is a hearing during which only one party is present. The judge will ask the petitioner their name, address and relationship to defendant. The judge will want to hear a succinct description of the abuse. The possible outcomes of a preliminary hearing are as follows:
- The judge may grant the petition as presented.
- The judge may grant it in part; deny it in part.
- The judge may deny the petition if it is determined that the allegations were insufficient, or if another legal remedy is more appropriate.
The PFA Office staff member will process all orders that are granted and will provide the plaintiff with further instructions. The plaintiff will be taken to the Sheriff’s Office where they will make arrangements for service of the PFA order on defendant.
The PFA Office staff can answer questions concerning procedures, times and dates of a hearing for the litigants. The PFA Office staff can not give legal advice. The PFA Office staff is not trained to counsel victims of abuse.
Other petitions, rules and orders that may be obtained at the PFA Office are:
- Continuance orders for final PFA hearings or indirect criminal contempt hearings.
- Petition, rule and order for extension of an existing PFA order.
- Petition, rule and result form for filing indirect criminal contempt in protection from abuse actions.
- Petition and rule for civil contempt complaints in protection from abuse actions.
- Dismissal orders.
- Amended final orders.
- Rule and order for weapon return.
KIDS FIRST CLASS SCHEDULE – LACKAWANNA COUNTY
Children Coping with Divorce & Family Conflict / Resources for Children & Families of Divorce
Walk-in Registration Not Accepted – DO NOT BRING THE CHILDREN
Location: 500 Jefferson Avenue, Scranton (Lackawanna College’s Student Union, Former CYC)
2014 Class Dates – AM = 8:30am – 12:30pm
Kids First is a four-hour educational program designed for families to help their children cope with the difficulties of divorce and family conflict. Participants are presented with information and experiences to help them learn how parental relationships have a direct effect on children how children might respond by age and gender, how to reduce separation distress in children, how to deal with parent-child alliances, how parents might free themselves from entrenched conflict, and how to develop a functional co-parenting relationship.
About the Presenter
Dr. Chet Muklewicz is a Pennsylvania licensed psychologist and he has advanced, certified training as a family therapist, divorce mediator, and custody evaluator. He completed post-doctoral clinical training in family therapy at the Family Therapy Training Center of the Philadelphia Child Guidance Center, University of Pennsylvania.
He is a professor of psychology at Lackawanna College and he maintains a private practice providing couples counseling, individual psychotherapy, family therapy, custody evaluations, divorce mediation, and post-divorce co-parent coordination. He has authored several books, including Kids First Parenting Plan and Kids First: Children Coping with Divorce and Family Conflict. Approximately ten thousand parents have attended his classes. He provides workshops to legal and metal health professionals throughout the United States.
Certificates will be given to participants at the end of the class. You should keep your certificates as proof of your compliance with the court order to attend the Kids First Class. The presenter will send direct correspondence to the court to verify your attendance. No further action is required by you to verify you compliance with the court order.
Kids First, 1527 Adams Avenue, Dunmore, PA | Phone: 1-570-341-2007 | Fax: 1-570-344-8684 | E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org