Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

Based in Pittsburgh, PA

412-344-4900

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Accused of Child Abuse?

In the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal, Pennsylvania expanded the mandatory child abuse reporting laws. As a result, the number of child abuse reports has soared.

Spivak Law Firm understands that reports of child abuse can be motivated by true safety concerns, though they are sometimes made to retaliate or harass.

Spivak Law Firm has extensive experience representing people accused of child abuse at Protection from Abuse (PFA) hearings, Children Youth and Families (CYF) hearings, and criminal domestic-violence hearings.

Based in Pittsburgh, we provide strong, compassionate, cost-effective representation.

If you face child abuse accusations, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or tolls free at (800) 545-9390.

Child Abuse

Pittsburgh Child Abuse Defense Lawyers

In Allegheny County, the majority of child abuse cases involve allegations of neglect that cause serious injury, pain or impairment to the child’s physical functioning.

Child abuse may also refer to physical abuse or sexual abuse. If you spank or use other forms of corporal punishment on your child, you may be investigated for child abuse especially if your actions lead to marks or bruising.

Under Pennsylvania law, many professionals in education, health care, and child care are required to report suspected child abuse or risk losing their licenses and facing criminal prosecution.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong advocacy in all criminal defense matters with a special focus on child abuse and domestic violence. Call us today at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Investigating Child Abuse in Allegheny County

An allegation of criminal child abuse may lead to investigations by police as well as Children Youth and Families (CYF). The child may undergo a forensic interview by a child abuse specialist depending on the age and maturity of the child.

The forensic interview occurs at a hospital with a CYF caseworker and police detective present. The recommendations of the forensic interviewer often guide a court’s decisions about whether to restrict a parent from his or her child.

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of family law and criminal defense. If you’ve been accused of child abuse, it may affect your ability to exercise unsupervised visitation of your child. We routinely help people facing child abuse accusations in both family court and criminal court.

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

Reporting Child Abuse in Pennsylvania

dandelion wishing blowing seedsIn the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal at Penn State University, the Pennsylvania Legislature passed laws expanding mandatory reporting of child abuse for certain adults, including: medical facility employees, medical examiners, school employees, social services staff, child-care center staff, clergy, EMTs, foster parents, librarians, and adults in regular contact with a child.

Reporting is mandatory when:

  • There is reasonable cause to suspect that a child is being abused,
  • Someone reports that the child is a victim of abuse, or
  • Someone age 14 or older admits to abusing a child.

Spivak Law Firm routinely defends parents against allegations of child abuse. We provide strong, compassionate representation at Protection From Abuse (PFA) hearings, Child Youth and Family (CYF) hearings, and criminal defense hearings.

Accused of abuse? Call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Stop False Reports To Child Abuse Hotlines

Little girl wearing sundress holding flowersPeople engaged in child custody battles can exploit child abuse hotlines by falsely reporting abuse in an effort to gain leverage in Court.

The public should not be allowed to make anonymous reports to child abuse hotlines, as these calls can result in innocent parents losing their kids, according to family law professor Dale Margolin Cecka of the University of Richmond.

A study of anonymous public reports found that nationally, only 1.5 percent of all reports are both anonymous and substantiated.

Professor Cecka distinguishes between the criminal justice system and Child Protective Services:

“The criminal justice system does not permit lay people to make completely anonymous reports. Before arresting or detaining anyone on the basis of an anonymous tip, police must also corroborate aspects of the allegation made by the confidential caller.”

Child Protective Services, meanwhile, “has an opposite mandate: It must visit a home after an anonymous call, if the allegations meet the legal definition of ‘abuse’ or ‘neglect.’”

The public should never be allowed to anonymously call a child abuse hotline, Professor Cecka concludes.

Spivak Law Firm provides aggressive representation in all high-conflict child custody and child abuse cases. To schedule a free consultation, call (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Stop False Reports To Child Abuse Hotlines

Little girl wearing sundress holding flowersPeople engaged in child custody battles can exploit child abuse hotlines by falsely reporting abuse in an effort to gain leverage in Court.

The public should not be allowed to make anonymous reports to child abuse hotlines, as these calls can result in innocent parents losing their kids, according to family law professor Dale Margolin Cecka of the University of Richmond.

A study of anonymous public reports found that nationally, only 1.5 percent of all reports are both anonymous and substantiated.

Professor Cecka distinguishes between the criminal justice system and Child Protective Services.

“The criminal justice system does not permit lay people to make completely anonymous reports. Before arresting or detaining anyone on the basis of an anonymous tip, police must also corroborate aspects of the allegation made by the confidential caller.”

Child Protective Services, meanwhile, “has an opposite mandate: It must visit a home after an anonymous call, if the allegations meet the legal definition of ‘abuse’ or ‘neglect.’”

The public should never be allowed to anonymously call a child abuse hotline, Professor Cecka concludes.

Spivak Law Firm provides aggressive representation in all high-conflict child custody and child abuse cases. To schedule a free consultation, call (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Children Who Witness Domestic Abuse

Children who witness domestic abuse may have the following range of symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Sleep disturbance
  • School problems – refuses to attend, truancy, poor performance
  • Anxiety, fear of abandonment
  • Increased violent behavior
  • Verbal abusiveness, lying
  • Regression – wanting bottle, baby talk, thumb sucking
  • Perfectionism
  • Shyness
  • Tantrums

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of family law, including: child custody, child support, divorce, Protection From Abuse (PFA) and Children Youth and Families (CYF).

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

Child Custody and Emotional Abuse

Ending a physically or emotionally abusive relationship doesn’t always end the abuse, especially when children are involved. You still have to see your ex-spouse to arrange for custody exchanges, holidays, etc.

If your ex-spouse continues to engage in controlling or manipulative behavior, consider limiting your communications to text or email. This can both reduce the level of conflict between the two of you, and allow you to document evidence of your ex’s inability to work together.

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

Child Custody and Substance Abuse

Pennsylvania courts decide child custody cases in the best interest of the children based upon sixteen relevant factors. One of the factors judges consider is any history of drug or substance abuse by the parties.

If you have a drug or substance abuse problem, it does not automatically mean that your ex will get sole custody of your children. But it does mean you will likely face substantial hurdles to obtain your desired custody schedule.

The court may temporarily restrict you from your children, order supervised visitation, and order you to undergo drug and alcohol treatment. Judges often reward parents who take successful steps to better themselves in the interests of their children.

Spivak Law Firm routinely helps parents with substance abuse and mental health issues achieve their custody goals. To schedule a consultation, call us today at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Child Custody & Domestic Abuse

 

DV Pic5In some extreme cases, mothers seeking to protect their children from abusive fathers are disbelieved by the courts and even sanctioned for parental alienation.

Such outlier cases form the basis of a recently released documentary by filmmaker Rachel Lewis, who spotlights the issue of mothers who have lost custody of their children to abusive fathers. The film warns that violent men can use the court system to further control and intimidate their exes by asserting their child custody rights.

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of family law with a special focus on high-conflict child custody and domestic violence. Call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

CYF and Child Custody

In high-conflict custody cases, one parent may inappropriately use Child Youth and Families (CYF) as a tool to harass or control the other parent.

One possible consequence of a CYF investigation is that children may be removed from the care of the allegedly abusive or neglectful parent.

The assigned CYF caseworker may eventually make a finding that no abuse occurred.

However, at that point, your children may have already been removed from your care for months.

At Spivak Law Firm, we work hard to expedite the process so parents accused of abuse are reunited with their children as quickly as possible.

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