In Allegheny County, you can either file a petition for a temporary protection from abuse (PFA) order yourself, along with the assistance of a domestic violence advocate (available at the court house), or by hiring a private attorney to assist you with filing the petition for a temporary PFA. Knowing what information you will have to provide beforehand can help to relieve the stress associated with going to court.
In 2012, I posted 9 Things You Will Be Asked When Filing a PFA Petition in Allegheny County, which I highly recommend reading first.
Allegheny County began using a new PFA Petition in December 2016. The new PFA Petition includes a Custody Supplement, which requires much more custody related information than the old PFA Petitions. This is the custody information that you will be asked when filing a PFA with custody in Allegheny County:
The court also requires a list of all of your minor children and of the minor children living in your household (even if they are not your children). Among the information requested is the child(ren)'s date(s) of birth, whether you are the parent, whether the Defendant is the parent, whether the child(ren) is/are living with you, whether you are seeking custody of the child(ren), and whether you are seeking protection for the child(ren).
2. If you and the Defendant are the parents of any minor children, the court needs to know whether there is an existing custody order.
If there is, you will need to describe the terms of the custody order. If there is not, you will need to describe the schedule you follow for custody. The court also needs to know what county and state the Custody Order is from.
3. Whether you want to modify your Custody Order or whether you want to get new custody relief.
If you are not seeking to change the terms of your Custody Order of if you do not need new custody relief, you will not be asked for any further information about your child(ren). If you are seeking to modify a Custody Order or you need a new Custody Order, you will need to fill out the Custody Supplement. The information required on the Custody Supplement is listed below in numbers 4-8.
4. A five year living history for each child(ren).
The five year living history requires the following information: the names of the people your child(ren) lived with, the address where they lived, and the time that they lived at this address. You will need to list this information for every address that your child has lived at for the past five years. If you don't remember a specific address, the court will need to know the town and state and/or county where you lived.
5. If another person is known to have or claim a right to custody of your child(ren), you will need to list this person's name, address, and basis of their claim.
In the majority of cases, only the mother and father have custody rights to the child or children and this question will be not applicable.
6. Your Criminal History Verification
The court needs to know whether you or any of your household members have been convicted, plead guilty, plead no contest, or were adjudicated delinquent (if the record is publicly available) to any of the following crimes:
- 18 Pa.C.S. Ch.25 (relating to criminal homicide);
- 18 Pa.C.S. §2702 (relating to aggravated assault);
- 18 Pa.C.S. §2706 (relating to terroristic threats);
- 18 Pa.C.S. §2709.1 (relating to stalking);
- 18 Pa.C.S. §2901 (relating to kidnapping);
- 18 Pa.C.S. §2902 (relating to unlawful restraint);
- 18 Pa.C.S. §2903 (relating to false imprisonment);
- 18 Pa.C.S. §2910 (relating to luring a child into a motor vehicle or structure);
- 18 Pa.C.S. §3121 (relating to rape);
- 18 Pa.C.S. §3122.1 (relating to statutory sexual assault);
- 18 Pa.C.S. §3123 (relating to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse);
- 18 Pa.C.S. §3124.1 (relating to sexual assault);
- 18 Pa.C.S. §3125 (relating to aggravated indecent assault);
- 18 Pa.C.S. §3126 (relating to indecent assault);
- 18 Pa.C.S. §3127 (relating to indecent exposure);
- 18 Pa.C.S. §3129 (relating to sexual intercourse with an animal);
- 18 Pa.C.S. §3130 (relating to conduct relating to sex offenders);
- 18 Pa.C.S. §3301 (relating to arson and related offenses);
- 18 Pa.C.S. §4302 (relating to incest);
- 18 Pa.C.S. §4303 (relating to concealing death of a child);
- 18 Pa.C.S. §4304 (relating to endangering welfare of children);
- 18 Pa.C.S. §4305 (relating to dealing in infant children);
- 18 Pa.C.S. §5902(b) (relating to prostitution and related offenses);
- 18 Pa.C.S. §5903(c) or (d) (relating to obscene and other sexual materials and performances);
- 18 Pa.C.S. §6301 (relating to corruption of minors);
- 18 Pa.C.S. §6312 (relating to sexual abuse of children);
- 18 Pa.C.S. §6318 (relating to unlawful contact with minor);
- 18 Pa.C.S. §6320 (relating to sexual exploitation of children);
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
- Manufacture, sale, delivery, holding, offering for sale, or possession of any controlled substance or other drug or device; and
- 18 Pa.C.S. §3124.2 (relating to institutional sexual assault).
7. Your Abuse History Verification.
You will be asked if you or any of your household members have a history of violent or abusive conduct or involvement with a Children and Youth Agency that includes the following:
- A finding of abuse by a Children & Youth Agency; and
- Abusive conduct as defined under the PA PFA Act or a similar law in another jurisdiction.
If you received any counseling, evaluation or treatment after a finding or conviction of abuse, you will need to list this information.
8. The Criminal History and Abuse History of the other party and their household members.
If there is a criminal history and/or abuse history, you should provide as much information as possible to the court.
Knowing what to expect can alleviate the stress associated with filing a petition for protection from abuse. This list provides a general idea of what is asked in a PFA Petition involving custody in Allegheny County, but is not intended to provide legal advice or to establish an attorney-client relationship. Please read our disclaimer for more information. To schedule an appointment with Attorney Allison Gaffen about your PFA case, please call (412) 540-2400 or contact us online.