Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

Based in Pittsburgh, PA

412-344-4900

Spivak Law Firm is BBB Accredited

Monthly Archives: December 2012

Even the Jobless Often Must Pay Child Support

imagesIn Pennsylvania, parents are legally obligated to support their children. Failing to financially support your child may result in your wages being garnished and even in your arrest.

But what if you don’t have a job? If you earn no money, you can’t be required to pay child support, right? Wrong!

Courts may impute an income equal to your earning capacity if you are found to have “willfully failed to obtain or maintain appropriate employment.”

Factors for determining a parent’s earning capacity include: age, education, training, health, work experience, earnings history, and child care responsibilities.

To learn more about earning capacity and other child support issues in Pennsylvania, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

10 Tips for PFA Defendants to Avoid Arrest

SO000183Violating a PFA can result in criminal charges with a maximum punishment of six months in jail. Here are 10 tips for helping PFA defendants avoid criminal penalties:

  1. Do not drive past the plaintiff’s residence.
  2. Avoid all places where you know the plaintiff goes.
  3. Leave a restaurant, grocery, or any other place if you realize the plaintiff is there.
  4. Hang up the phone immediately if the plaintiff calls you.
  5. Do not send emails, texts, letters, faxes, or gifts to the plaintiff.
  6. Do not respond to emails, texts, letters, faxes, or gifts from the plaintiff.
  7. Avoid contact with the plaintiff’s family, friends, and neighbors.
  8. Do not get into arguments or confrontations with the plaintiff’s family or friends – walk away!
  9. If the plaintiff comes to your house, do not let the plaintiff inside – don’t open the door!
  10. Retain an experienced PFA defense attorney.

To speak with an experienced PFA defense attorney, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or (800) 545-9390.

Want to Pay Less Child Support?

126998623In Pennsylvania, child support and child custody are inextricably linked. The amount of child support you owe is directly tied to the amount of time you spend with your child.

A parent who pays child support will receive a 10 percent reduction in the amount of support owed at 40 percent parenting time, increasing incrementally to a 20 percent reduction at 50 percent parenting time, according to state law.

Parenting time is based on the number of overnights the child spends with the parent who pays child support.

Courts are reluctant to grant a parent more custodial time merely in order to reduce child support payments. But such practical considerations must be part of the conversation between you and your family law attorney.

To speak with a Pittsburgh family law attorney, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Filing for Child Support in Pennsylvania

Does the person who files for child support automatically get it?

No.

In fact, Pennsylvania law explicitly states that child support orders must be entered “without regard to which party initiated the support action.”

In other words, a person who files for child support may end up owing it.

Child support calculations are based on (1) the parties’ incomes and (2) the custodial arrangements in place at the time of the hearing or trial. Generally, the parent with primary custody is entitled to child support.

To speak with a Pittsburgh child support attorney, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Domestic Violence Can Happen to Anyone

Restraining orders and domestic violence can happen to anyone – even the very rich and famous.

Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry will appear in court this week in a domestic violence case that has received international attention.

This past Thanksgiving, Berry’s fiancé got into a brutal fight with Berry’s ex-boyfriend that left both men with serious injuries. Each man filed a restraining order against the other.

The incident occurred in Berry’s driveway while her 4-year-old daughter was inside the house.

In Pennsylvania, a restraining order is known as a PFA, or Protection From Abuse order, which restricts contact between the parties and can be used to gain leverage in child custody matters.

In Berry’s case, the restraining orders could affect her child custody case. Last month, a judge denied Berry’s request to move with her fiancé to France because her ex-boyfriend shares custody of the child.

In Pennsylvania, a person cannot relocate with a child unless every person with custody rights to the child consents or the court approves the relocation.

Berry, like many of our clients throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania, will spend much of this holiday season in court battling over child custody, restraining orders, and criminal charges arising out of the domestic violence incident from Thanksgiving.

Spivak Law Firm handles all domestic violence matters, including PFA restraining orders, criminal charges, and child custody matters. To schedule an appointment, call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.