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PFA Law Adding Protections for Abuse Victims

702075.TIFPennsylvania will likely expand its Protection From Abuse (PFA) law to offer more protections for rape victims. A PFA, also known as a restraining order or protection order, is a powerful tool that restricts a perpetrator from having any contact with the victim.

Under the current PFA law, victims of abuse can get a PFA against (1) their spouse, (2) their live-in boyfriend or girlfriend, (3) a parent of their child, (4) their child, (5) their former sexual or intimate partner, (6) their parent, or (7) any family member related to them by blood or marriage.

But the PFA law does not currently protect survivors who were sexually assaulted by strangers or acquaintances. This loophole in the law will be closed if Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett signs the Protection of Victims of Sexual Violence or Intimidation Act.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, aggressive representation for plaintiffs and defendants in PFA cases. To speak with an experienced Pittsburgh PFA lawyer, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

No Guns For Domestic Violence Offenders

99190846 copy2The United States Supreme Court recently ruled that federal law prohibits anyone convicted of a felony or misdemeanor domestic violence charge from possessing a gun. The ruling specifically states that the federal law applies even in cases where there is no proof of violent acts or physical injury.

In Pennsylvania, criminal domestic violence charges generally include but are not limited to simple assault, aggravated assault, harassment, stalking, child abuse, and reckless endangerment of another person.

The federal law prohibiting gun possession does not encompass Protection From Abuse (PFA) orders. A PFA is a civil matter and only becomes criminal if the person restricted by the PFA is accused of violating the order.

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

Brainwashing Children in Custody Battles

ConflictParent alienation syndrome often occurs in the most bitter and hard-fought custody battles. In this scenario, one parent becomes obsessed with destroying a child’s relationship with the other parent when there is no good reason to do so. Alienation can be mild, moderate, or severe. A parent is engaging in parent alienation anytime children hear him or her speak in a negative way about the other parent.

In extreme situations, children are turned against a healthy parent. The children’s will and choice are removed from them through a form of brainwashing. This is a serious form of child abuse, because if isn’t stopped, the children may be headed for psychiatric disturbances, failed relationships, and dysfunctional lives in which they may pass the behavior on to their own children.

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

China Mulls PFA Law Similar to Pennsylvania

139954591China appears close to passing a law empowering courts to issue restraining orders for victims of domestic violence, child abuse, and elder abuse.

Chinese culture has traditionally regarded family abuse as a private, not a criminal, matter, according to a recent article in The New York Times. Currently, someone who goes to the police seeking help against a violent family member will generally be advised to return home and “work it out,” the article states.

The Chinese bill is comparable to Pennsylvania’s Protection From Abuse (PFA) law, which nearly 40 years ago enabled courts to issue emergency no-contact orders at a time when filing criminal charges was the only legal recourse for victims of family abuse.

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

Understanding Your Finances is Key in Divorce

111787230Getting a handle on your financial situation is key when going through a divorce. Organizing your finances can be difficult if you were not the one responsible for them during your marriage. If possible, try to become more financially aware before you separate:

  • Get more involved in your finances. Know the basics – pay the bills and file the statements. Learn how your daily and monthly expenses are managed.
  • Determine where the money is coming from and how it is applied toward your budget.
  • Take part in setting up investments such as retirement funds, and understand where and what the other assets are.

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

Building Relationships with Children of Divorce

Little girl wearing sundress holding flowersSome parents are adamant that their children spend time with them when it’s “their time.” They may even stop the children from participating in activities or programs or spending time with their friends.

Family therapists advise against placing your desire for contact with your child above promoting his or her healthy development. Try not to think in terms of minutes and hours; think in terms of the quality of the relationship your are building and sustaining.

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

The Challenge of Co-Parenting After Divorce

102719637Co-parenting after divorce can be challenging for many families. Co-parenting means that both you and your former spouse must take responsibility for raising your children, even though you are no longer husband and wife. The goal is to keep children out of the middle of your conflict so they don’t feel the stress of the situation.

The children should feel as though they still have a family, just one that has been reorganized. Of course, the ideal way to achieve this is for the parents to get along, do what is in the children’s best interests, and put the children’s needs before their own. But this may be easier said than done.

While change is often difficult, it does not have to be destructive. It may make sense to get psychological support during such trying times.

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

Expungement Necessary Even If Case Dismissed

200488043-001Many people make the mistake of thinking that their records will automatically be wiped clean if their criminal charges are dismissed or withdrawn. This is not true.

Even if your charges are thrown out, you still need to go through the expungement process to erase them from your criminal background. This may be especially important if the nature of the charge itself causes embarrassment (e.g., prostitution, domestic abuse) or leads another to question your trustworthiness (e.g., forgery, theft).

At Spivak Law Firm, we expunge criminal records for a low, one-time fee. For more information, call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

How to Prepare for Your Support Hearing

200359488-001Prior to the support hearing, provide your family law attorney with paystubs, tax returns, W-2s, 1099 forms, bank statements, and other documentary evidence of your income. Be prepared to describe in detail your occupation or business, earnings, and job perks as well as your spouse’s business, earnings, and job perks. Do not overlook other sources of income such as investments, trusts, parental gifts, gratuities, and “under the table” income. In addition to understanding your financial status, your attorney will work with you to assess your realistic needs, goals, requirements, earning and earning capacities.

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

Pennsylvania Court Helps Divorced Parents

140464335Transportation is a common problem for divorced parents who share custody of their children. School districts do not make things easier when they insist on providing transportation only to one parent’s residence.

But a court ruling from earlier this year will go a long way toward helping divorced parents by forcing school districts to provide bus transportation to both parents’ homes so long as they each reside in the district.

The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court upheld a Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas judge’s ruling that ordered the Manheim Township School District to resume busing services for a middle school student who alternates weeks with his mother and father.

The Court cited Pennsylvania laws requiring school districts to provide transportation to resident pupils and prohibiting school districts from forcing students to travel more than 1.5 miles from their homes to the bus stop.

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