PFA (Protection from Abuse): Restraining Orders
In Alabama, a Protection from Abuse Order may be issued in accordance with the Protection from Abuse Act to provide relief for an individual who feels they have been harassed, threatened with harm, or actually harmed by a family member, specifically a current or former spouse (either legal or common-law), family member, or other individual living in the same house.
Victims of domestic violence can obtain a Protection from Abuse Order from the clerk’s office at their local circuit court. There is no cost to file the petition and it can be done without an attorney being present, but it is suggested that any individual looking to obtain a Protection from Abuse Order consult a family law attorney before filing. This will ensure that the victim knows all of the options available and can make an informed decision in dealing with a difficult situation.
A Protection from Abuse Order provides for a number of avenues for relief from an abusive or potentially abusive situation.
The Order gives the court the power to:
- Delete contact information (addresses, phone numbers, etc.) from court records related to the case,
- Prevent the defendant from contacting the victim,
- Prevent the defendant from coming to the victim’s home or place of employment and remove the defendant from the home if both parties are occupants,
- Place children in the temporary custody of the victim,
- Prevent the defendant from selling or otherwise disposing of jointly held real estate or property.
The judge may also order other forms of relief deemed necessary on a case-by-case basis.
Protection orders issued in other states are valid in Alabama if they meet certain conditions. Violations of out-of-state orders will be treated as if they were issued within Alabama and will be enforced as such. Out-of-state orders are valid if it contains the names of all parties involved, the name of the issuing court, the date issued, and a valid signature of a judicial offer. The order must also not be expired, must contain specific-enough terms to be enforceable, and the defendant must have been notified.
If you or someone you know are the victim of domestic violence or otherwise needs family law advice in Alabama, contact The Hawkins Law Firm for consultation. The number for the Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-650-6522. Other information can be found at http://www.acadv.org.