I previously wrote an entry about the options available for a victim of abuse to obtain a Protection from Abuse (PFA) order against his/her abuser. However, what if you aren’t the victim, but your child is? Fortunately, the Protection from Abuse Act anticipates such a situation and permits a parent or guardian to file for a PFA on behalf of the abused child. The Court has the power to enter any order to prevent the abuse of a child.
Not only can the Court prevent the abuser from any and all contact with the child but it can also order a wide variety of additional relief and establish a temporary custody arrangement. When deciding whether or not to establish a custody order, the court considers the risk posed by the abuser to the children and the other parent. As a general rule, a party will not be granted custody, partial custody or unsupervised visitation with a child if the Court finds that the party abused the child or poses a risk to the child.
If the Court finds that a party has abused a child, the Court may require that a third party supervise his/her visitation with the child. This supervisor can be any neutral third party that the parents can agree upon or can occur at a secure visitation facility. In addition, the Court can prevent the abuser from visiting the child’s school or day care facility. It is important to note, however, that the custody provisions in a PFA are meant to be temporary. Therefore, if a parent would like the Court to establish a permanent custody order, he/she should seek the guidance of an attorney to file a Custody Complaint.
Therefore, the Court has a wide variety of tools to protect children from abuse. If you find that your child has been abused, or feel that he/she is in danger of being abused, you have a plethora of options through the PFA system available to you to protect your child. Please contact my Pittsburgh law office, Gusty A.E. & Associates, P.C. with any questions regarding this matter.