Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

Based in Pittsburgh, PA

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Author Archives: Todd Spivak and Rebecca Canterbury

Guidance for Parents Seeking a Divorce

Parents who wish to get a divorce typically have four major issues to resolve.

First, you must determine how to divide time with your children. This is known as child custody. Many parents equally share custody of their children, though there may be reasons for one parent to serve as the primary caregiver.

Second, you must determine if either parent is eligible to receive financial assistance. This may come in the form of child support or spousal support. Child support will be paid until all the minor children turn 18 or graduate from high school. Spousal support may end when the divorce is resolved or, in some cases, continue even after the divorce in the form of alimony.

Third, you must divide the marital estate by determining the values for all assets and debts accumulated during the marriage. Assigning values to some assets can prove complicated. For instance, appraisals may be necessary to determine the value of the marital residence, family business, or retirement accounts.

Fourth, you must obtain a decree in divorce. The decree is a legal document issued by the Court of Common Pleas in your county indicating that the divorce has been finalized. Some spouses wish to resume their maiden name when finalizing a divorce.

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas related to divorce and family law, including: child custody, child support, spousal support, alimony, division of assets and debts, name changes, and Protection From Abuse (PFA). To schedule a consultation with an experienced divorce and family law attorney, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Talking to Kids About Divorce

Parents going through a divorce should take steps to protect their children’s emotional health.

Professionals recommend that parents determine in advance what they will say to their kids.

Parents should make clear that the divorce has nothing to do with the children, and work together to ensure consistency in their daily routines.

Individual counseling or family counseling may be helpful to address any lingering concerns.

Spivak Law Firm handles all family law matters, including: child custody, child support, divorce, and Protection From Abuse (PFA).

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

Child Custody: Back to School Amid COVID-19

In Pennsylvania, many school districts are offering parents three options for school amid COVID-19:

  • Option #1: Go to a physical classroom inside their school building
  • Option #2: Attend school online only
  • Option #3: Choose a hybrid of the first two options by going to a classroom for part of the week and attending school online for the remainder

Parents who share custody of their children may not agree on which option to choose. One parent may feel that send their child into a classroom is too risky given the coronavirus. One parent may feel strongly that the risk of infection by sending the child into a physical classroom is low and necessary to ensure proper learning.

If the parents cannot agree, then a hearing officer may make the decision for them at a school-choice hearing. Both parents will get the opportunity to explain their positions, and the hearing officer will make a decision based on the children’s best interests.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, compassionate, cost-effective representation in all child custody and family law matters. Call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Couples Break Up In PFA Court

Under Pennsylvania law, Protection From Abuse (PFA) orders require a family or intimate relationship between the alleged victim and abuser.

While some rare cases pit parent against child or brother against brother, the vast majority of cases occur between spouses or ex-lovers.

PFA court can be highly emotional, as people are torn from their children, evicted from their homes, and fear losing their jobs.

An abuser often wants to reconcile with the person who obtained the PFA against them. In these situations, it is hard for them to accept that their relationship has been ended without an ability to speak or get closure.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, compassionate, cost-effective representation at PFA hearings. To speak with an experienced PFA attorney, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Factors For Modifying Child Support

A child support order may be modified at any time based on a change in circumstance.

The following factors related to the child support order are considered:

  • The income of either parent significantly increases or decreases;
  • The child now has significant or continuing medical expenses;
  • Child care and/or medical insurance changes;
  • The parents are now living together; or
  • The child receiving support is 18-years-old and graduated from high school.

Spivak Law Firm routinely helps people at child support hearings by providing strong, compassionate, cost-effective representation.

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

Wills and Powers of Attorney For Young Adults

It’s never too early to start thinking about drafting your Last Will and Testament and Powers of Attorney.

Clearly stating health care wishes and appointing a person to direct them are important at every age because accidents happen.

The trauma of an accident is exacerbated when sensitive health care decisions must be made based on assumptions, leaving family members, doctors, or even judges guessing about the patient’s values.

If you are healthy and young, you may still want to get certain wishes down in writing for just-in-case situations. For many parents, this means determining who will care for their children in the event of an emergency or crisis.

For more information about drafting your Last Will and Testament and Powers of Attorney, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Final Preparations for Divorce

When preparing for divorce, you should take stock of all your financial assets and debts.

For many families, the most significant assets include the marital residence and retirement accounts.

Other assets may include bank accounts, investment accounts, vehicles, jewelry, and furnishings.

Debts commonly include credit cards, mortgage balances, home-equity lines of credit, and student loans.

At Spivak Law Firm, we routinely help people determine the value of their marital estates and negotiate marriage settlement agreements.

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

Pennsylvania Child Support Guidelines

The Pennsylvania Child Support Guidelines were developed with the principle that the children of separated, divorced or single parents should receive the same amount of parental support as if the parents were together.

The State Supreme Court issued these Guidelines for calculating how much child support a parent should pay.

The Guidelines are based on the needs of the child and the ability of the parents to provide child support until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later. The incomes and assets of both parents are considered when the court establishes a support order.

Based in Pittsburgh, Spivak Law Firm handles all family law matters, including: divorce, child custody, child support, and Protection From Abuse (PFA).

For more information, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

If You Witness Domestic Abuse

While domestic violence typically happens behind closed doors, in some cases it occurs in a public space or around friends or family members, meaning that other people may witness or be aware of the abuse.

Here are 3 tips for what you might do to intervene:

  • Take into account your own safety as well as the survivor’s. Gather a group of people to stand nearby and either verbally or physically intervene.
  • Contact the authorities if necessary.
  • Approach the victim afterwards in a private space and provide them with the contact information of support services.

Spivak Law Firm provides aggressive representation for plaintiffs and defendants in domestic violence cases, including Protection From Abuse (PFA), Children Youth and Families (CYF), and criminal domestic violence.

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

PFA Law: 24 Hours to Relinquish Guns

Under Pennsylvania law, a person subjected to a Final Protection From Abuse (PFA) order was given 60 days to turn over his or her firearms.

A new law speeds up the time that people have to relinquish their guns to 24 hours after they have been convicted of a misdemeanor domestic-violence crime or had a Final PFA order approved against them by a judge.

The 24-hour provision intends to close a loophole that exposed domestic-abuse victims to continued risk of violence even after obtaining a PFA order.

The new law applies even in cases of alleged stalking, harassment, and assault where guns were not involved.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong representation at PFA hearings. For more information, call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.