Do I need a lawyer to get a PFA order?
No. You can represent yourself “pro se” (without a lawyer) throughout the process of seeking a protection from abuse order.1 Although you do not need a lawyer to file for a PFA, it may be to your advantage to seek legal counsel especially if the abuser has a lawyer, when child custody issues are at stake, or when during the court hearing for the final order. Even if the abuser does not have a lawyer, it is recommended that you contact a lawyer to make sure that your legal rights are protected.
If you cannot afford a lawyer but want one to help you with your case, you can find information on legal assistance on the AL Finding a Lawyer page, or by calling the Alabama Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-650-6522.
In addition, the domestic violence organizations in your area and/or court staff may be able to answer some of your questions or help you fill out the necessary forms. To find a local domestic violence organization, go to AL Local Programs. You will find contact information for courthouses on the AL Courthouse Locations page.
If you are going to be in court by yourself, go to our Preparing your Case page for ways to prepare yourself for your court hearing.
1 Ala. Code § 30-5-5(e)
If you are going to be in court without a lawyer, our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section may be useful to you.