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Legal Information: Pennsylvania

Restraining Orders

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Laws current as of December 15, 2023

Do I need anything special to get my PFA enforced in another state?

In some states, you will need a certified copy of your PFA. A certified copy says that it is a “true and correct” copy; it is signed and initialed by the prothonotary that gave you the order, and usually has some kind of court stamp on it. In Pennsylvania, a certified copy may be a paper copy of the original order endorsed by the prothonotary or an electronic copy with a digital signature of the judge or prothonotary. A raised seal is not required for it to be a certified copy.1

At the time your PFA was ordered, you should have received 3 copies of it, but those copies were most likely not certified. In order to get a certified copy, call or go to the court that gave you the order and ask the prothonotary’s office for a certified copy. According to the law, you are not supposed to be charged anything for certified copies of the PFA.2

Note: It is generally a good idea to keep a copy of the order with you at all times. You may also want to leave copies of the order at your work place, at your home, at the children’s school or daycare, in your car, with a sympathetic neighbor, and so on. You may want to give a copy to the security guard or person at the front desk where you live and/or work along with a photo of the abuser. You may also want to give a copy of the order to anyone who is named in and protected by the order.

1 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 6102
2 23 Pa,C.S.A. § 6104(d)(3)