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Author Archives: Todd Spivak and Rebecca Canterbury

3 Types of PFA Orders In Pennsylvania

Under Pennsylvania law, there are three kinds of Protection From Abuse (PFA) Orders that may be issued:

Emergency PFA: A magistrate may order an Emergency PFA at times when a Court of Common Pleas judge is not available, such as at night, on weekends, and during holidays. An Emergency PFA expires automatically at the close of the next business day. Therefore, if you get an Emergency PFA on Friday night, it will remain in effect until Monday at 5:00 p.m. so long as Monday is not a holiday.

Temporary PFA: A Court of Common Pleas judge may order a Temporary PFA based on an accuser’s sworn testimony of abuse. Pennsylvania law requires that a Final PFA hearing be scheduled within 10 days after the Temporary PFA is granted.

Final PFA: A Court of Common Pleas judge may order a Final PFA after a hearing. In some cases, defendants will consent to a Final PFA without need for a hearing. A Final PFA may last up to three years.

Spivak Law Firm has successfully represented hundreds of plaintiffs and defendants in PFA matters. For more information, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Child Custody and Positive Messaging

How can we get children to be honest?

This question takes on even more importance when a child’s safety depends on knowing the truth, as in criminal cases involving child abuse.

Harsh punishments like spanking do not deter children from lying, according to recent scientific studies.

Positive messaging is the key to fostering honest behavior. Experts recommend emphasizing the benefits of honesty.

For instance, witnessing others receiving praise for honesty promotes honest behavior. Studies have also shown that children are less likely to lie after promising to tell the truth.

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of family law and criminal defense with a special focus on child custody and domestic abuse. To schedule a consultation, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Attorney Spivak Featured On New PFA Law

Attorney Todd Spivak, owner of Spivak Law Firm, was featured in a recent news article regarding changes to the Protection From Abuse (PFA) law in Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania General Assembly recently passed a bill requiring people with Final PFA orders to surrender their firearms within 24 hours to law enforcement.

In the article, Attorney Spivak is described as a proponent for reforming the PFA law to curb false claims of abuse.

A PFA has serious consequences. It can take away:

  • Your home: You may be permanently evicted from your residence.
  • Your kids: You may lose custody of your children for an extended period of time.
  • Your job: You may be terminated from your job, especially if you’re a police officer, teacher, daycare worker, or anyone subject to background checks.
  • Your rights: You may lose your Constitutional right to possess firearms.
  • Your freedom: You may be jailed and face criminal charges for allegedly violating any provision of an active PFA.

“If someone is willing to lie or exaggerate or fabricate on a PFA petition, what’s to stop them from lying about a violation of the order,” Attorney Spivak says in the article. “Defendants can have their lives turned upside down.”

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, aggressive defense in all PFA and criminal domestic-violence matters. Based in Pittsburgh, we routinely represent clients in Allegheny County, Beaver County, Butler County, Fayette County, Indiana County, Mercer County, Washington County, and Westmoreland County.

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

PFA Hearings: What If There’s No Evidence?

Many people mistakenly believe that a Final Protection From Abuse (PFA) order won’t be granted unless there is definitive evidence of abuse.

This is simply not true.

Most cases of alleged domestic violence cannot be proved definitively. There may not be any eyewitnesses, medical records, photographs of injuries, or written correspondence to prove that abuse occurred.

But a judge may still order the Final PFA based on the credible testimony of the alleged victim. In other words, judges rely mainly on what the accuser says under oath when determining whether to grant a Final PFA.

If you have been served with a Temporary PFA, you are at great risk of a Final PFA unless you obtain effective legal representation.

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

Divorce: Who Gets To Stay In The House?

Despite the fact that you and your spouse have decided to divorce, both of you equally share in the right to occupy the jointly owned residence. Living together while separated can be difficult. But know that you have options.

If you or your children are subject to violence or threats of violence by your ex, you may seek a Protection from Abuse (PFA) Order, which will immediately evict your ex from the residence.

If there is no abuse present, but living together is unbearable, you may petition the court for exclusive possession of the marital residence. The court may award you temporary possession of the marital residence pending final distribution of all marital property.

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.

Child Custody Schedules

Parents can often agree on the best type of custody arrangement for their families. In such cases, a child custody schedule can be helpful.

A typical child custody schedule includes:

  • A daily schedule with the days and times that each parent has custody.
  • Details about who transports the child and where exchanges will occur.
  • Information about how you will communicate with your ex.
  • A schedule for sharing birthdays and vacation times.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, compassionate representation in all child-custody matters.

To discuss the custody arrangement that best fits your family’s needs, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Child Custody Exchanges

Child custody exchanges can be hectic and tense, especially when you and your ex are passing the children’s personal items back and forth.

If possible, make the process easier for yourself and your children by doubling up on everyday items. Consider having your own car seat, diaper bag, and set of clothes for the children.

This not only makes packing for exchanges easier, but it will also help the children to adjust well in each home, while minimizing conflict at each exchange.

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

PFA Hearings in Pittsburgh and Nearby Counties

At Spivak Law Firm, we provide strong, aggressive defense at Protection From Abuse (PFA) hearings.

Based in Pittsburgh, we routinely accept cases in the following counties: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Indiana, Mercer, Washington, and Westmoreland.

Each county has different local rules and customs for PFA hearings.

For instance, cases in Allegheny County frequently settle without need for a formal hearing. Many of our defendants never go before a judge or even see the inside of a court room.

In more rural counties, virtually all cases go before a judge. There are often fewer alternatives for reaching settlement, thereby resulting in a greater likelihood of trial.

At Spivak Law Firm, we are experienced trial lawyers who aim to protect your liberty, your job, and your child-custody rights. We have successfully represented hundreds of people accused of domestic violence, harassment, stalking, sexual violence, and other forms of abuse.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.

Child Custody and Video Games

Is your kid addicted to video games such as Fortnight or Minecraft?

Understanding the value of video games to children may ease conflict between children and parents seeking more balance in their daily lives. Child psychologists offer the following tips to parents:

First, it’s important to note that action video games cultivate spatial skills needed in advanced mathematics and engineering. Parents should not demonize mes altogether because they offer proven benefits to brain development.

Second, games like Fortnight provide a social experience as friends team up and communicate by headsets to banter and coordinate strategy. Again, parents should lighten up somewhat on games because their kids are often engaged in a group activity requiring communication and fostering relationships.

Third, instead of opposing the games, parents should simply set limits and promote their involvement in other important activities such as completing homework, playing outside, and participating in family life.

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of family law with a special focus on child custody. To schedule a consultation, call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Helping Women In Criminal Cases

Women are more likely to remain incarcerated because they cannot afford bail, according to a recent report.

High pretrial detention rates are a major component of mass incarceration, accounting for 99 percent of jail growth over the last 15 years. Women comprise the fastest rate of growth among incarcerated populations.

Women held in pretrial detention often face long separations from their families resulting in devastating collateral consequences such as loss of child custody and eviction from their homes.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, compassionate representation in all family-law and criminal-defense matters with a special focus on domestic violence and child custody. Call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.