Rule 1901.8. Modification or Discontinuance.
(a) In cases in which a temporary protection order has not yet been granted or has been denied, a plaintiff in a protection from abuse action who wishes to discontinue the action may file a praecipe to discontinue, pursuant to Pa.R.C.P. 229, prior to the final order hearing. The party may also request the discontinuance by oral motion at a hearing.
(b) In cases in which a temporary protection order has been granted, a plaintiff in a protection from abuse action who wishes to vacate the temporary order and discontinue the action shall either file a petition with the court prior to the final order hearing or make the request by oral motion at the final order hearing.
(c) If either party seeks a modification after a final judgment has been entered in a protection from abuse action, the party shall petition the court to modify the final order. The court shall enter an order granting or denying the petition following an appearance by the petitioner before the court.
Jurisdictions across the commonwealth have adopted varying procedures and processes for the withdrawal, discontinuance and modification of protection from abuse actions. This rule provides a uniform process that comports with the requirements of 23 Pa.C.S. § § 6107(b)(2) (related to hearings), 6117 (related to procedure and other remedies) and Commonwealth v. Charnik, 921 A.2d 1214 (Pa. Super. 2007). These requirements, when read together, require a different procedure for withdrawal, discontinuance and modification at various stages in a protection from abuse proceeding.
After a final protection order is entered, and no motion to reconsider or appeal is filed, the court no longer retains jurisdiction to vacate that order. Charnik, 921 A.2d at 1217. The court does, however, have jurisdiction to modify a protection from abuse order at any time after the filing of a petition for modification, service of the petition and a hearing on the petition. 23 Pa.C.S. § 6117. Thus, a party may request that the court modify the order to expire at an earlier date if the party does not want the order to remain in effect.
The provisions of this Rule 1901.8 adopted June 25, 2013, effective in 30 days on July 25, 2013, 43 Pa.B. 3932.
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