Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

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Monthly Archives: June 2015

Don’t Let a PFA Hurt Your Reputation

DV Pic8Getting served with a Protection From Abuse (PFA) Order can be upsetting, embarrassing, and downright scary. Police may come to your home or your place of employment. You may be evicted from your home and restricted from seeing your kids. Neighbors, friends, and work colleagues may suddenly perceive you negatively – as an “abuser” – even if the allegations are false.

The mere accusation of abuse can devastate a person’s life and reputation.

At Spivak Law Firm, we aggressively defend people facing allegations of domestic violence and child abuse. We know how the court system works and how to best navigate the system to protect your legal rights. In addition to preparing the strongest possible defense, we pride ourselves on being accessible to clients and treating you with dignity and compassion.

Don’t let a PFA destroy your reputation. Call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

PFA Defendants Must Hire An Attorney

DV Pic2Q: Will a public defender represent me at my Protection From Abuse (PFA) hearing?

A: No.

People accused of abuse often make the terrible mistake of appearing in PFA Court without a lawyer to defend them. Many think that a public defender – a “free” lawyer – will be appointed to represent them.

But a public defender is available to low-income people in criminal matters only. A PFA is not a criminal matter. A PFA hearing takes place in family court not criminal court.

A PFA is a civil restraining order that restricts an “abuser” from having any contact with the “victim.” A PFA only becomes a criminal matter if the “abuser” violates the PFA Order.

If you’ve been served with a PFA, you need an attorney experienced in family law and criminal defense to represent you. At Spivak Law Firm, we’ve helped hundreds of people get the PFA dismissed while preserving their child-custody rights and protecting their reputations.

Served with a PFA? Call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

How To Get A PFA Restraining Order

PFA Pic9The process for securing a Protection From Abuse (PFA) Order in most Pennsylvania counties starts by filing a paper called a petition at your local county courthouse. In the petition, you tell the court why you feel you need protection. The petition describes the abuse you have suffered and the protection you want from the court. The courthouse has people who must help you fill out the petition.

After you complete your PFA petition, the court will read it and may ask you questions. The alleged abuser is not present during this proceeding.

The judge will likely grant you a Temporary PFA and set a final hearing date within 10 business days. The defendant will get a copy of your petition. At the Final PFA hearing, you may be required to testify about the things you wrote in your petition. A Final PFA Order can last up to three years.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, aggressive representation for plaintiffs and defendants at PFA hearings in Pittsburgh and all nearby counties, including: 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.

Spanking Kids Yields Negative Results

Custody Pic3Although some 80 percent of American parents spank their kids, the use of corporal punishment as a method of behavior modification is not supported by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Extensive research demonstrates that although corporal punishment may have a high rate of immediate behavior modification, it is ineffective over time, and is associated with increased aggression and decreased moral internalization of appropriate behavior. Additional negative outcomes associated with corporal punishment are:

  • Increased risk for physical abuse
  • Learning that aggression is an acceptable method of problem solving
  • Experiencing physical and emotional pain, which decreases learning capacity
  • Being less likely to learn why a certain behavior or action was wrong
  • Behaving out of fear in the future

Alternatively, parenting programs recommend appropriate limit setting and use of praise to increase positive behaviors, decreasing hostile or coercive family interactions, and enhanced problem solving. These techniques tend to improve the parent-child relationship and decrease the need or utility of corporal punishment.

Spivak Law Firm handles all family law matters with a focus on child custody. Call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

What To Write On Your PFA Petition

702075.TIFApplying for a Protection From Abuse (PFA) Order can be a confusing and even scary process. The PFA Act says that you must prove to the court that you have been abused, as described in the categories below. Abuse can take many forms, including economic, emotional, and psychological, and you can write about those, too.

Note: The defendant will receive a copy of the petition. It will also be available as a public record at your county courthouse.

In your PFA petition, you can describe any of the following, if they happened to you:

  • “Acts that cause bodily injury or serious bodily injury and/or sexual offenses.” These include hitting, punching, slapping, pushing, strangling, chocking, forcing sex or attempting to do any of these things.
  • “Putting another person in reasonable fear of imminent serious bodily injury.” This refers to making threats to harm or kill you, your family, your children, or your pets.
  • “False imprisonment.” This includes restraining your movement or holding you down.
  • “Physical or sexual abuse of minor children.” This includes corporal punishment or spanking that leaves marks or requires medical attention.
  • “A course of conduct or repeatedly committing acts toward another that put the person in reasonable fear of bodily injury.” This includes sending threatening emails, following you, repeatedly calling you on the phone, and showing up at your residence, workplace, or school.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, compassionate representation for plaintiffs and defendants at PFA hearings in Pittsburgh and all nearby counties, including: Allegheny County, Beaver County, Butler County, Fayette County, Indiana County, Washington County, and Westmoreland County.

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