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How do Restraining Orders and Protection From Abuse Orders affect custody?


It is, unfortunately, quite common for domestic violence Restraining Orders in New Jersey, and Protection from Abuse (“PFA”) Actions in Pennsylvania, to be filed between parents of minor children. Typically, if there are no custody orders between the parents, the restraining order or PFA will govern parenting time arrangements between the parents while a full hearing on the domestic violence case is pending. While a case is pending and the parents are waiting for a hearing, it is most common for the Court to award sole custody of the children to the alleged victim of domestic violence.


Even if a parent has an active custody order filed with the Court, a restraining order or PFA can alter those terms on an emergent basis, and prevent the alleged abusive parent from having access to the children while the parents await a full hearing on the issue of the alleged domestic violence.


If the Court enters a final restraining order or PFA and finds that the alleged abusive parent did commit acts of domestic violence, the Court will then determine what parenting time or custody the abusive parent should have with the children including exercising its power to alter the previous parenting time Orders that were previously entered. The Court has the power to award a range of custody and parenting time including: supervised visitation and shared custody depending on the circumstances of the case.


If you are involved in a domestic violence/PFA action with the (parent) of your children, it is important to have experienced counsel as a restraining order/PFA may restrict your rights to your children.

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