Rule 1901.1. Venue.
(a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), an action for protection from abuse may be brought in a county in which
(1) the plaintiff resides, either temporarily or permanently, or is employed, or
(2) the defendant may be served, or
(3) the abuse occurred.
(b) If the relief sought includes possession of the residence or household to the exclusion of the defendant, the action shall be brought only in the county in which the residence or household is located.
(c) An action for indirect criminal contempt may be filed in, and heard by, the court in the county in which the order was issued or where the violation occurred.
The statute and rules governing actions for protection from abuse formerly contained no provision for venue. Recommendation No. 84 of the Civil Procedural Rules Committee proposed a new rule to fill that void and the rule has been adopted as Rule 1901.1.
Subdivision (a) provides for venue in the following counties: (1) the county in which the abuse occurred, (2) the county in which the defendant may be served, (3) the county in which the plaintiff resides, either permanently or temporarily, and (4) the county in which the plaintiff is employed. These are the counties with which the plaintiff has the most significant contacts and the greatest interest in remaining free from abuse. The county of temporary residence is included because an abused person may have to flee the county of permanent residence to escape further abuse.
The rule imposes limited venue when the relief sought includes the sole possession of the residence or household. In that instance, the action must be brought in the county in which the residence or household is located.
The 2005 amendments to the Protection From Abuse Act grant jurisdiction over indirect criminal contempt complaints in either the county in which the order was issued or the county where the violation occurred. This rule allows for flexible and immediate enforcement of protection from abuse orders. With this amendment, indirect criminal contempt jurisdiction is parallel to prosecution for stalking and harassment. 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 6114 (a.1).
The provisions of this Rule 1901.1 adopted January 25, 1991, effective July 1, 1991, 21 Pa.B. 614; amended May 2, 2006, effective May 9, 2006, 36 Pa.B. 2369. Immediately preceding text appears at serial page (242777).
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