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Protection From Abuse Orders

PFA

PFA - PROTECTION FROM ABUSE ORDERS IN KANSAS

WHAT IS A PROTECTION FROM ABUSE (PFA) ORDER?

A PFA order is a civil court action intended to stop the abuse against you and/or your child/ren. To ualify for a PFA Order you and the abuser must be intimate partners or living in the same house, meaning you must:

  • Be living together OR
  • Have lived together in the past OR
  • Be the parent of or living with a child who has been harmed by the abuser OR
  • Have a child in common OR
  • Be in or have been in a dating relationship

AND

  • The abuser has purposely tried to physically harm you or a child, or has purposely or carelessly caused physical harm
  • The abuser has purposely caused you or a child to fear that physical harm is about to happen
  • The abuser has participated in certain sexual behaviors with a child under 16 years of age who is not the abuser's spouse

HOW TO APPLY FOR A PROTECTION FROM ABUSE ORDER

When the court is open:

  • You can apply (or fill out a petition) at the District Court clerk's office.
  • You must sign the petition in front of hte court clerk; some courts require identification.
  • Be prepared to tell the judge why you think you need protection.
  • Sometimes the clerk may present your application to the judge for you.
  • You will probably be given a temporary order that will protect you until hte final hearing. It will be good for up to 20 days.
  • The court will set a date and time for a final hearing.
  • At the final hearing, the judge decides if the temporary order should become a final order, lasting up to a year.

WHAT CAN HAPPEN UNDER A PROTECTION FROM ABUSE ORDER?

When you recieve a protection order, the Court can do any ofhte following things.

  • Order the abuser to stop abusing mistreating, or interfering with the privacy or rights of you and your child/ren. The order may say the abuser cannot contact you at all.
  • Give you sole control over the home, unless you are not married and the home is rented or owned by the abuser only. The court can also order law enforcement to assist in the removal of the abuser.
  • Require the abuser to provide appropriate housing for you and your children.
  • Award custody and establish a parenting plan.
  • Order the abuser to pay child support and/or support you.
  • Award costs and attorney fees to either of you.
  • Devise a plan for you or the abuser to safely get personal belongings from the home.
  • Order the abuser to get counseling.
  • Order other things necessary to keep you or your children safe. For example, the Judge can order the abuser to hand over your immigration documents, birth certificates for you and your children, your divorce papers or marriage license, and social security cards. However, the Judge may require you to show a connection between the abuse and the need for these documents.
  • Order the abuser not to disconnect the utility services to your home for 60 days (in the event you choose to stay there).

WHAT IS A "MUTUAL ORDER" AND HOW CAN IT HURT YOU?

A "mutual" order prevents both of you from abusing, mistreating, or interfering with the privacy or rights of each other. BOTH parties may be kept from contacting each other.

A mutual order can hurt in the following ways:

  • If you violate the order, you may be criminally prosecuted.
  • You could be tricked by the abuser into violating the order, causing the police to arrest you and charge you with a crime.
  • The order could be used against you in a custody or divorce case.
  • If you are an immigrant, the mutual order may affect your ability to gain or maintain a legal status. Violation of a protection order is a deportable offense.

Two ways a mutual order can be issued against you:

The first way is when the abuser files a conter-petition against you. You must hten be served with the counter-petition. At the final hearing, the judge will decide if you and the abuser were both primary aggressors and if neither of you acted in self-defense.

OR

The second way a mutual order can be issued is if you agree or consent to it.

If a counter-petition is filed against you or you are urged to consent to a mutual order, think seriously about contacting an attorney to find out about any negative consequences.

OTHER THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • It is not necessary to have an attorney represent you at the final PFA hearning but it might be in your best interest to have one. Check with your local Kansas Legal Services office to see if this service is offered in your community and if you can receive legal services.
  • The abuser will be given information about the temporary order and will be allowed to come to the final hearing . The judge will decide whether you will get a final PFA order based on what you and your abuser say at the final hearing.
  • Neither a tempoarary nor a final PFA order is enforceable until it has been served on the abuser by authorized personnel.
  • If you need a protection order and the court is closed, you may be able to apply for an Emergency Order (Contact your local Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault program to find out if this option is available in your county). You can apply (petition) at your local law enforcement officer or other approved location. This order will automatically expire at 5:00 p.m. on the next regular work day of the District Court. You must return to the court to apply for a protection order that will last longer. If the abuser violates the order before it is served, you can call the police. The police can not arrest him for violating the order but they can still protect you.
  • You may request a PFA order be in effect for up to one year.
  • You may only file two PFA applications (petitions) within a 12 month period, except in the case of the abuse of a minor.
  • If you are asking the court to order the abuser to pay child support, you should make a list of income and expenses so the court can decide how much support should be ordered.
  • If you have children, you may be asked to file a temporary parenting plan. Be precise about what time you want the abuser to see the children, where the abuser can see them, and for how long.
  • If you do not want the abuser to see the children or you want the abuser to be supervised while with the children, be prepared to explain to the judge why this is necessary. Ask your local domestic violence or sexual assault program if your community has a supervised child visitation and exchange center.
  • You will have to tell the jduge where the children have been living for the last 5 years and with whom.
  • If the abuser needs to pick up personal property from the home, be prepared to tell the judge what time is best for you. Remember, the abuser must be escorted by the police if hte abuser comes to the home.
  • The PFA order can only be changed by the judge. If you want to end the order early, you must ask the court to dismiss it. The clerk at the district court can give you the forms for changing the order.
  • Your PFA is good in the state where you recieved it and everywhere in the United States, including all 50 states, Indian Tribal lands, the District of Columbia, the US Virgin Islands, puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam.

SPECIAL ISSUES CONCERNING IMMIGRANT WOMEN

Can I get a PFA order if I am not a U.S. citizen?

  • YES. Regardless of your immigration status, you have a right to be protected.

Will I be deported if I get a PFA order?

  • You do not need to be a citizen or legal permanent resident to get a protection order. Generally, civil courts do not ask about a woman's immigration status when seeking a protection order. However, you can contact the local domestic violence shelter or legal services office to find out about the policy in your courts.
  • If you are a naturalized citizen, lawful permanent resident, or a valid visa holder, you are not likely to be deported unless you have violated certain immigration laws or committed certain crimes.
  • If you are undocumented, you may be at risk depending on the policies of your local court. There are immigration remedies for women who are abused by their partners and you may be eligible for one of them. You many want to contact an immigration attorney to get additional information. In the meantime, do what you need to do to be safe. Contact your local domestic violence shelter or victim advocacy program to learn about local community resources for victims of domestic violence. By law, these programs should contact an interpreter if you do not speak English.

Will my partner be deported if I get a PFA order?

  • If you contact the police and your partner is convicted of a crime, your partner may be deported, depending on immigration status and the seriousness of the crime. Violation of a PFA order is a deportable offense.

Advocates may be available to assist you with your filing of your PFA order, accompany you to court and provide information to you and your children. Call your local domestic violence and/or sexual assault program for assistance.

The information found in this brochure is a summary of hte law. For more information or legal advice, you should seek the assitance of an attorney.

ALWAYS KEEP YOUR COPY OF THE PFA ORDER WITH YOU!!

YOU AND YOUR CHILDREN DESERVE TO BE SAFE

This brochure may be downloaded from www.kcsdv.org/pfa.pdf

This grant project is funded or partially funded by the Federal S.T.O.P. Violence Against Women Grant Program as adminsitered by Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius' Grants Program. The opinions, findings and conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication, program, or exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarly reflect the views of the Office of the Kansas Governor of hte U. S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.