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Monthly Archives: November 2014

When Filing a PFA Petition May Be Improper

You may not file a Protection From Abuse (PFA) petition:

–Against someone who is merely your neighbor or an acquaintance;

–To stop mental abuse, emotional abuse, or property destruction;

–To obtain a custody order or to resolve a custody dispute.

A PFA Order is a powerful tool for restricting an abuser from contacting his or her victim, but it is not appropriate in every circumstance.

To schedule a free consultation with an experienced PFA lawyer, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Fathers’ Rights In Child Custody Cases

78287715Is there a bias against men in custody court?

Is it the court’s knee-jerk reaction to give primary physical custody to the Mother?

Many people believe that yes, of course, women have an inherent advantage in child custody disputes. As a result, men may talk themselves out of seeking time with their kids. Do not make this mistake.

Spivak Law Firm fights hard for father’s rights. We believe firmly that, in most cases, parents should have equal access to their children.

We have successfully united many fathers with their kids, ensuring a shared custody schedule, shared holiday time, and shared vacation time.

To speak with an experienced child custody and fathers’ rights attorney, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

3 Types of PFA Orders in Pennsylvania

133338146There are three types of Protection From Abuse (PFA) Orders:

  • Emergency PFA Orders are issued by a District Justice when the Court is closed during non-business hours. An emergency PFA Order expires at the end of the next business day for the Court.
  • Temporary PFA Orders are issued by the Court of Common Pleas until a final hearing can be held, which is scheduled within ten business days.
  • Final PFA Orders are entered as a result of an appearance before the Court where both parties have the chance to be heard by the Judge.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, aggressive representation for plaintiffs and defendants at PFA hearings in Allegheny County, Beaver County, Butler County, Fayette County, Indiana County, Washington County, and Westmoreland County.

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


Who Can File a PFA?

77005984Under Pennsylvania law, to file a Protection From Abuse (PFA) Order, there must be a current or former relationship between the victim and the abuser.

A relationship is defined as a spouse, ex-spouse, or persons who have lived like spouses; a current or former sexual or intimate partner; a parent or child; a brother or sister; or other persons related by blood or marriage.

If you are a minor under 18, a parent, guardian, or another adult household member may file on your behalf.

If you do not meet the relationship criteria above, a PFA Order cannot be entered.

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

PFA Law Gives 5 Definitions Of “Abuse”

702075.TIFPennsylvania’s Protection From Abuse (PFA) Law lists five definitions of “abuse”:

The first definition of “abuse” involves physical or sexual violence. The law states: “Attempting to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury, serious bodily injury, rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, statutory sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault or incest with or without a deadly weapon.” These are the types of conduct people most commonly associate with domestic violence.

Many people are surprised to learn that the second definition of “abuse” involves mere threats. The law states: “Placing another in reasonable fear of imminent serious bodily injury.” Thus, an angry email or text threatening harm or death may be sufficient to grant a PFA order.

The third definition of “abuse” refers to false imprisonment. The law states: “A person commits an offense if he knowingly restrains another unlawfully so as to interfere substantially with his liberty.” Thus, for example, blocking someone from leaving a residence could result in a PFA against you.

The fourth definition of “abuse” specifically involves children. The law states: “Physically or sexually abusing minor children.” The PFA law then refers to statutes involving Child Protective Services.

The fifth definition of “abuse” refers to stalking. The law states: “Knowingly engaging in a course of conduct or repeatedly committing acts toward another person, including following the person, without proper authority, under circumstances which place the person in reasonable fear of bodily injury.”

As you can see, Pennsylvania’s PFA law is very broad. Judges have wide discretion in determining whether a PFA is warranted.

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