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Child Custody: Kids With Two Homes


Custody Pic3Separation and divorce often means two different homes for children, which also often means two competing sets of rules for children to follow.

As a parent, you have the right to set the rules for your children, even if those are different than your ex-spouse. But having opposite rules for children in each household can be confusing for them at a time when they’re learning to cope in a new family environment.

Consider the following three tips to avoid confusing the children:

  • Follow a similar schedule for the children (dinner time, bed time, etc.).
  • Create consistent rules to follow in each household.
  • Implement similar forms of discipline, and work together to enforce the rules.

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

PFA and Law Enforcement


BU010665If you’re a law-enforcement official, a Final Protection From Abuse (PFA) Order against you could mean the end of your career.

Under Pennsylvania law, a PFA prohibits the defendant from possessing a firearm. For law enforcement officials, the inability to possess a firearm may lead to their termination.

At Spivak Law Firm, we understand the serious consequences of a Final PFA. We have represented law enforcement officials at every level of government: federal Department of Homeland Security, state troopers, county sheriffs, and local police officers.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, aggressive defense at PFA hearings in Pittsburgh and all surrounding counties, including: Allegheny County, Beaver County, Butler County, Fayette County, Greene County, Indiana County, Washington County, and Westmoreland County.

If you’ve been served with a PFA, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Child Custody and Back-to-School


The transition from summer vacation to back-to-school is a difficult one to make for both parents and children. To avoid conflict between you and your ex-spouse, consider planning ahead with these four tips:Custody Pic5

  • Coordinate back-to-school shopping for the children.
  • Determine which parent will complete schoolwork (or certain assignments) with the children.
  • Discuss after-school activities for the children.
  • Coordinate schedules for parent-teacher conferences.

To further prevent conflict, avoid discussing these issues in front of your children.

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

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

How to Calculate Spousal Support


Family Pic8Q: How do courts calculate spousal support in Pennsylvania?

A: The formula for determining spousal support is as follows:

First, add together the lower-earning spouse’s net monthly income and monthly child support. Then subtract that number from the higher-earning spouse’s net monthly income. Finally, multiply the net difference by 30 percent (or 40 percent if there are no children) to calculate the basic support obligation.

For instance, let’s say you earn $1,200 net monthly income and collect $1,000 per month in child support; and let’s say your spouse earns $5,000 net monthly income. According to the formula, you would receive $800 per month in spousal support.

Spivak Law Firm handles all family law matters, including: divorce, custody, support, and PFA. Call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

4 Tips for PFA Defendants


PFA Pic1It is important to maintain your composure at your Final PFA hearing.

It will be difficult to remain calm while the opposing party makes allegations of abuse against you, but walking into a hearing with a bad attitude may affect the judge’s opinion of you and add to the plaintiff’s credibility – even if the allegations are false.

To avoid discrediting your version of events, follow these four tips at your PFA hearing:

  • Do not raise your voice in anger to the judge, your lawyer, or the other party;
  • Do not shake your head, roll your eyes, or laugh while the other party is speaking;
  • Do not interrupt the other party or the judge;
  • Do not make mean-spirited comments about the other party.

If you have been served with a PFA order, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Limit Stress In Divorce


ConflictDivorce can be one of the most stressful times in a person’s life. You may take comfort in the fact that family and friends have taken your side in the matter, but this may create conflict. What appears to be emotional support may actually be encouragement to fight and argue.

It is best to enter negotiations, or even litigation, with a level head in order to avoid making rash decisions that are not necessarily in your best interest. If you (or someone close to you) are in the process of divorce, lend support. But avoid causing conflict.

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

Child Custody and Summer Vacation


dandelion wishing blowing seedsChildren eagerly await the end of the school year and the start of summer vacation. But summer vacation can be a stressful time for you and your ex, as this means accommodating one another’s vacation schedules. These five tips can help alleviate some of the tensions that arise when planning vacations:

  • Tell your ex your plans ahead of time;
  • Do not violate the terms of an existing custody order;
  • Give your ex the details of your trip (location, lodging, transportation, phone numbers, etc.);
  • Arrange for communication between the children and your ex;
  • Confirm the agreement in writing.

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

Tips For Child Custody Hearings


Custody Pic1In a child custody hearing, you may think that the judge’s main focus in the courtroom is on the lawyers. But the judge is mindful of all parties involved and pays close attention to the parents’ body language and demeanor.

When you are in court, pay attention and remain calm. If the other parent says something disagreeable, avoid shaking your head, rolling your eyes, sighing, or squirming in your chair. One of the sixteen custody factors considered by the judge is the level of conflict between the parties. Negative body language may lead the judge to believe that you and your ex-spouse are unable to effectively co-parent in the best interests of your children.

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

Should I Talk to Police?


200274141-001Police may not arrest you without probable cause. They must reasonably believe that you committed a crime.

If you are a criminal suspect, police may ask to speak with you. We advise that you politely decline and refer them to your attorney.

You might think that declining to talk to police will make you appear suspicious and even guilty. The officer may say that he just wants to ask you some questions, or he may even go so far as to threaten to recommend adding charges against if you do not cooperate.

But by talking to police, you may be building their case against you.

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

Parenting Plans for Teens


Family Pic6Teenage children are often more adaptable to custody schedules because they can better balance differences in household routines. As long as the parenting plan allows the children to see both parents on a frequent and continued basis, the schedule can be flexible. When making a parenting plan for your teenagers, consider the following:

  • Permit the children to call the other parent in privacy;
  • Respect the well-reasoned preferences of the children;
  • Accommodate the children’s school activities and extracurricular activities;
  • Consider the social needs of the children.

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