Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

Based in Pittsburgh, PA

412-344-4900

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Author Archives: Todd Spivak and Rebecca Canterbury

Enforcing Divorce Agreements

You may avoid mediation, court hearings, and costly attorney fees by simply negotiating a Marriage Settlement Agreement with your ex.

At the time you finalize the divorce, you may ask the court to merge the Agreement into the final divorce decree. The Agreement becomes a contract between you and your ex. If your ex violates its terms, you may remedy the violation by seeking damages.

Keep in mind that it is easier to address violations of the Agreement if it has been incorporated into the final decree. When incorporated, it becomes an official court order that may be enforced through contempt powers of the court.

Spivak Law Firm routinely handles divorce, equitable distribution, and drafting Marriage Settlement Agreements. Call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Expungements: What Gets Erased?

A criminal record expungement erases all proof of arrest, charges, convictions, and hearings from the public record. But will an expungement necessarily lead to the destruction of all information related to your criminal history? Unfortunately, no.

Under Pennsylvania law, the following types of information continue to be maintained by criminal justice agencies even after an expungement order is granted:

-Intelligence information

-Investigative information

-Missing persons information

-Wanted persons information

-Stolen property information

-Medical treatment information

-Psychiatric treatment information

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

PFA Hearings: No Right To Jury Trial

If you’ve been served with a Protection From Abuse (PFA) order, we urge you to take it seriously. A PFA can take away your home, your job, your children, and even your liberty. A PFA can destroy your reputation and stigmatize you as an abusive person for the rest of your life.

A PFA is a civil matter determined by judges in family court. There is no right to a jury trial at a PFA hearing because it’s not a criminal matter, though a PFA can quickly and easily result in criminal charges if you’re merely accused of violating the order.

Under Pennsylvania law, there is no right to a jury trial except in criminal cases whereby conviction could lead to a jail sentence exceeding six months. The maximum penalty for violating a PFA is six months and a $1,000 fine.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong representation at PFA hearings. Based in Pittsburgh, we represent clients in Allegheny County, Beaver County, Butler County, Fayette County, Indiana County, Mercer County, Washington County, and Westmoreland County.

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

Child Custody Tips For Memorial Day Weekend

While holidays offer parents an opportunity for quality time with their children, they also often involve issues such as fitting a vacation around the other parent’s schedule and giving up some time for the other’s sake.

Here are some valuable tips to help you have a great holiday:

  • Stick to the plan: If you agreed to a parenting or custody plan, you should try to stick to it as much as possible.
  • Plan ahead: Avoid misunderstandings and disagreements about who has the kids by discussing it with your ex in advance.
  • Maintain contact: Regardless of whether your child is with you or the other parent, it is vital for the child to stay connected with the parent who is not present.

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of family law, including: divorce, child custody, child support, and PFA hearings.

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

Expungement Process

Maintaining a clean criminal record is crucial to obtaining housing, employment, or educational opportunities.

If you have a criminal record, you may be eligible to clear it if criminal charges against you were withdrawn or dismissed or five years have passed following conviction of a summary offense. This process is known as an expungement.

If you have charges or convictions eligible for expungement, the first step is requesting a criminal background check with the Pennsylvania State Police. Next, you file an expungement petition with the county where the incident took place. You must file separate petitions for each arrest incident.

If there is no objection by the district attorney, the petition is granted without a formal court hearing. The court then sends approval to your attorney. The court also notifies state police and other criminal justice agencies that will then clear your public criminal record.

Spivak Law Firm routinely handles expungement matters for a low, one-time fee, and keeps you updated at each stage of the case.

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

Spotting Signs of Abuse

Being able to tell the difference between a healthy relationship and an abusive relationship can be difficult.

You may be in an abusive relationship if your partner:

  • Exhibits an explosive temper
  • Inflicts physical pain in any way
  • Belittles you or puts you down
  • Checks your cell phones, emails or social networks without permission
  • Demonstrates extreme jealousy or insecurity

Spivak Law Firm helps victims of domestic violence get the legal protections they need at Protection From Abuse (PFA) hearings and by working with prosecutors on criminal domestic-violence cases. To schedule a consultation, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Child Custody For Grandparents

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania recently limited the rights of grandparents to pursue custody of their grandchildren.

Prior to the Court’s decision, grandparents had standing to pursue partial physical or supervised custody if: (a) the parents of the children were separated for a period of at least six months or (b) the parents commenced divorce proceedings.

But the Court struck the parental separation provision from the statute, as it violates parents’ rights under the Due Process Clause. Now a grandparent’s rights to pursue custody could be complicated if the parents of the children never married.

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

Underage Drinking In Allegheny County

Underage drinking is illegal in Pennsylvania for people under age 21. But the law provides an exception for underage drinkers who seek medical attention for another.

If an underage drinker calls the police or campus safety to report another person in need of immediate medical attention to prevent death or serious injury, then the person who made the call cannot be prosecuted for underage drinking.

The purpose of this exception is to save lives without risk of criminal prosecution.

Spivak Law Firm handles all criminal-defense matters, including: summary trials, summary appeals, preliminary hearings, and criminal-record expungements. To speak with a Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Probation v. Parole

Probation and parole are two terms that are commonly misused. Probation is given instead of a prison sentence, while parole is something granted to prisoners as a reward for good behavior.

Probation allows a person convicted of a crime to avoid jail as long as he or she follows certain conditions set by the court. Such conditions commonly include remaining employed, abiding by a curfew, and submitting to drug and alcohol tests. Parole, meanwhile, refers to the early release of a prisoner who promises to follow certain restrictions.

Violating your probation or parole can land you in jail or even extend your punishment. At Spivak Law Firm, we aim to keep you out of jail and avoid additional penalties. To learn more, call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Child Custody Schedules

If you and your ex have a child custody order but follow a completely different schedule, you should consider updating your order.

For instance, your order stipulates that you have your children every other weekend, but you and your ex actually share custody of the children on a week on/week off arrangement.

You may think there is no need to update your current order, since you and your ex are following a schedule without issue. But if conflict arises, your ex could revert back to the custody order and withhold the children from you.

Based in Pittsburgh, Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of family law, including: divorce, child custody, child support, spousal support, equitable distribution, and Protection From Abuse (PFA). To speak with an experienced child custody attorney, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.