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Monthly Archives: January 2014

Telling Your Children About Your Divorce

78287715Divorce can be emotionally devastating for parents and children alike. Here are some tips from family counselors on telling your kids about your divorce:

  • Talk to the children together
  • Give your children time to react and time to be mad and sad, and to ask questions
  • Try to anticipate your children’s questions and reactions, and be prepared to respond
  • Encourage your children to talk about their feelings

The reasons behind your divorce are likely not relevant to your children and generally should not be shared, the experts say. What children need is: to feel loved; to realize the divorce is not their fault; a sense of security; routine and structure; and not to be put in the middle.

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

Finding the Right Family Law Attorney For You

95732591Family law attorneys handle divorce, child custody, and support issues. Choosing the right family law attorney is important given the emotional and financial hardships that frequently accompany these issues. Here are some things to consider when making your decision:

  • Does this lawyer seem confident, strong, and experienced?
  • What skills do I see in the lawyer? Is the lawyer smart, resourceful, comforting, strategic, a good listener, and so forth?
  • Is this person a skilled negotiator, trial lawyer, and communicator?
  • What kind of dispute resolution do I want to pursue, and does this lawyer have the appropriate experience and skills to handle the case in this fashion?
  • How will the parenting plan be developed and who will develop it?
  • If there are realistic issues involving personality disorders, substance abuse, or other such problems, does the lawyer have the experience and skill set to deal effectively with them?
  • Do I trust and respect this person? Can we have a good working partnership?
  • Can I be honest with this person? Do I feel comfortable sharing intimate details?
  • Is this person honest and candid with me?
  • Does the lawyer pay attention to me? Does he or she have time for me?
  • Can I afford this lawyer?

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

Why Expunge Your Criminal Record?

71044902A criminal record can hurt you by limiting your job opportunities, restricting your housing options, and even impeding your ability to get a loan. In Pennsylvania, employers, landlords, and banks routinely check criminal backgrounds.

Having your criminal record expunged, or erased, is vitally important to getting your life back to normal. Fortunately, the process is relatively simple and inexpensive.

At Spivak Law Firm, we promptly obtain a certified copy of your criminal record from the Pennsylvania State Police then petition the court to expunge your record. The process can take as long as a year, and we update you about the process at every step.

If your case was dismissed or withdrawn, we can immediately initiate the expungement process. If you’ve been convicted of a summary offense, you can have your criminal record expunged after a five-year waiting period so long as there are no further incidents.

To learn more about expunging your criminal record, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Filing for Support in Pennsylvania

122499577To commence an action for spousal and/or child support, file a Complaint for Support in the Domestic Relations Section of the Court of Common Pleas in your county, where forms are provided. No fee is required to commence a support action in Allegheny County and many other Pennsylvania counties. The Domestic Relations Section then schedules the joint conference and/or hearing according to local rule. In Allegheny County, people who file for support receive a scheduling order with a hearing date usually set about four weeks away.

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

Child Custody in Allegheny County (Part 7 of 7)

Little girl wearing sundress holding flowersIn Allegheny County, any person involved in a child custody dispute must enroll in Generations, an alternative dispute resolution program that includes an educational seminar and mediation session. To learn about the educational seminar, please click here. To learn about the mediation session, please click here. To learn about waiving the mediation session due to issues of domestic violence, please click here. To learn about the custody conciliation, please click here. To learn about psychological/home evaluations, please click here. To learn about partial custody hearings, please click here.

If you and the other party are unable to come to an agreement at the custody conciliation, you may be ordered to appear at a judicial conciliation.

A judicial conciliation is very similar to a custody conciliation, except that the parties attempt to work out a custody agreement with the assistance of the Judge assigned to their case. A judicial conciliation may occur after a custody conciliation or after psychological evaluations have been completed. If the parties are represented, attorneys may be present. Please bring with you: a schedule of the child’s activities and school schedule; your income information; and a proposed custody schedule.

If the parties are unable to work out an agreement at the time of the judicial conciliation, the Judge may schedule the matter for trial, schedule further proceedings, and/or schedule evaluations.

To speak with an experienced Pittsburgh child custody lawyer, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.