Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

Based in Pittsburgh, PA


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PFAs and College Students


702075.TIFPennsylvania colleges are increasingly cracking down on domestic violence, raising awareness of Protection from Abuse (PFA) restraining orders as tools to stop harassment and stalking, as well as physical and sexual violence.

College students served with PFA orders are at great risk of violating the PFA if they continue to attend college on the same campus as their accuser.

You may be arrested and charged with Indirect Criminal Contempt if the plaintiff merely accuses you of contacting, harassing, or stalking, even if a police officer does not witness the alleged violation.

A PFA alone is enough to disrupt educational and employment opportunities, but you could face even more hurdles when the PFA is coupled with criminal contempt charges that include a maximum sentence of six months in jail.

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

We have effectively represented college students attending University of Pittsburgh, Penn State University, Carnegie Mellon University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Carlow University, Slippery Rock University, and other schools in the Pittsburgh area.

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

Reporting Child Abuse in Pennsylvania


dandelion wishing blowing seedsIn the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal at Penn State University, the Pennsylvania Legislature passed laws expanding mandatory reporting of child abuse for certain adults, including: medical facility employees, medical examiners, school employees, social services staff, child-care center staff, clergy, EMTs, foster parents, librarians, and adults in regular contact with a child.

Reporting is mandatory when:

  • There is reasonable cause to suspect that a child is being abused,
  • Someone reports that the child is a victim of abuse, or
  • Someone age 14 or older admits to abusing a child.

Spivak Law Firm routinely defends parents against allegations of child abuse. We provide strong, compassionate representation at Protection From Abuse (PFA) hearings, Child Youth and Family (CYF) hearings, and criminal defense hearings.

Accused of abuse? Call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Brangelina Custody War

unknownAmerica’s sweethearts Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are among the latest celebrities to split. In addition to divorce, Jolie filed for shared legal and sole physical custody of their six minor children.

Legal custody refers to a parent’s right to make decisions regarding the upbringing of the children, including religion, education, medical care, etc.

Physical custody involves where the children are physically residing. If Jolie wins, the children will reside with her and potentially only visit with Pitt.

But courts seldom award sole physical custody to one parent, unless there are findings that the other parent is unfit to have the children in their physical custody. Jolie’s actions were harsh and designed to severely restrict Pitt’s rights to his children. Hopefully, for the kids’ sakes, they will have equal access to both parents.

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.

Divorce May Result in Multiple Trials


ConflictIn Allegheny County, every aspect of a divorce is handled separately through the courts.

A divorce commonly includes the following issues: child custody, child support, spousal support, dividing marital assets and debts, and the divorce itself.

There is not just one trial that resolves all these issues.

Instead, each issue is placed on a separate trial track. This means you may face multiple trials or hearings: one to address child support, another to resolve child custody, and still another to determine how to divide assets and debts.

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

Child Custody: Fast Food v. Organics

custody-pic1You may not like that your ex feeds the kids fast food while you prepare homemade organic meals. But try not to sweat the small stuff. While your ex-‘s household rules may aggravate you, they usually aren’t issues worth bringing to court.

Such disagreements over child custody decisions may exacerbate tensions between you and your ex, making co-parenting more difficult.

Moreover, you want to avoid irritating the judge by arguing over what will likely be deemed as superficial or petty disagreements.

Spivak Law Firm handles all family law matters, including divorce, child custody, child support, 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.

No Guns for PFA Defendants


pfa-pic9Under federal law, people convicted of domestic-violence misdemeanors such as simple assault are banned from owning firearms.

The gun ban also extends to people who are subject to Protection From Abuse (PFA) restraining orders.

Guns are the most common method for killing intimate partners.

Laws restricting firearm access for people subject to restraining orders are associated with a 19 percent reduction in rates of intimate homicide, according to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of family law and criminal defense with a focus on domestic violence. Call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Child Custody and Child Support


Beautiful baby of three months old in his mothers hands.Contrary to popular belief, parents retain custody rights to their children even if they fail to pay court-ordered child support. Child custody and child support are two separate legal issues.

Just because you do not receive child support does not mean that you can refuse custodial access to the children. If you have a custody order, and you refuse to abide by its terms, you may be held in contempt for violating a court order, which carries the following potential consequences:

  • Up to six months in jail;
  • A fine up to $500;
  • Probation for up to six months;
  • Suspension of your driver’s license; and
  • Payment of the other parent’s attorney’s fees.

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

Charged With A Crime?

SO000183If you have been criminally charged, hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case.

You may believe that you are able to effectively represent yourself in court, but the reality is that lawyers often obtain better deals than clients who represent themselves.

Police officers and prosecutors are aware of the fact that most lawyers have a firm grasp on the bargaining process and therefore extend offers of compromise that may not be made to a self-represented defendant who is unfamiliar with court procedure.

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

Domestic Violence Warning Signs


dv-pic5Domestic violence experts increasingly aim to identify “red flags” that often precede homicides and murder-suicides where abuse is present.

Warning signs include: strangulation, stalking behavior, sexual violence, gun possession, unemployment, substance abuse, and prior attempts by the victim to end the relationship.

Previous abuse by the suspect is the strongest of these “red flags,” according to experts.

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of family law with a special focus on domestic violence and Protection From Abuse (PFA). Call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

PFA and Criminal Records


PFA Pic8Q: Will a Protection From Abuse (PFA) Order appear on my criminal record?

A: No.

A PFA is a civil matter that appears on the family court docket along with documents relating to divorce and child custody. It will not appear on the criminal docket, though employers increasingly review both dockets when making hiring decisions.

A PFA is not a criminal matter, though it can become one if you are merely accused of violating the Order. A PFA violation can lead to the charge of Indirect Criminal Contempt (ICC), which carries a six-month jail sentence and $1,000.00 fine.

Spivak Law Firm handles all PFA, criminal, and expungement matters. Call us today at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.