How do you Countersue for a PFA?

A bronze Lady Justice figure holding scales

Protection from Abuse Orders, also known as PFAs, protect those who claim to have suffered abuse or who claim they are afraid of imminent abuse. The defendant in a PFA is usually evicted from the home where they’re living with the person alleging abuse. The PFA mandates that the county sheriff seize the guns of the alleged abuser even before a hearing on the merits. The PFA prohibits the defendant from having any contact, even in writing, with the petitioner who filed the PFA.

One of the first questions that you may ask yourself is whether you can countersue the other person for a PFA. You’ve been evicted from the marital home—should she be evicted too? You’ve been told to stay away from her—can you make her stay away from you?

Yes, you can file a counter-PFA against the person who claims you abused them. But you should note a few limitations on this. First, just because you file a PFA doesn’t mean that you can get the other person kicked out of your house or that you can move back in. This is often the reason that a defendant is interested in filing a counter PFA. They may have been removed from the house, sometimes even a place where they work out of and they want to know if they can reverse the process by filing a PFA.

But the first person to file the PFA is usually who gets possession of the house. This is a frustrating reality for many people. Second, filing a counter PFA does not negate what was claimed in the first PFA. In other words, simply saying that you are also in fear of the other person does not make the judge any more or less likely to believe that the other person was not in reasonable fear of imminent harm.

Accordingly, the best way to defend against a PFA is to prepare for your defense, work on whether some kind of resolution can be reached with the other party (through the attorneys and never one on one with the other person, as this violates the law).

PFAs require that the person who is filing them swear under oath that they are in reasonable fear of eminent abuse or have suffered recent abuse and are likely to suffer more in the future. If you are able to say this in good conscience, under oath, then you can file for a PFA. This is true even if someone has already filed a PFA against you.

If you have been served with a PFA, call the family law attorneys at Cornerstone Law Firm to talk to them about how to handle your case. Call us today for a consultation.