Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

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“Status Quo” Is Key In Child Custody Cases

Little girl wearing sundress holding flowersIn child custody cases, judges are generally reluctant to change an arrangement that is working well for a child. Judges recognize the benefit of stability in a child’s life.

“Status quo” is a term that judges frequently use to describe long-standing custody arrangements.

If you are the primary caretaker of a child, then it is important to show the judge that the status quo has been for the child to spend most nights in your care.

On the other hand, if you are seeking to expand your custody time, then you should try to create a new status quo for the child that involves more time in your care.

Some parents go to court seeking to preserve their custody time, while others aim to expand their custody time. To speak with an experienced child custody lawyer, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Ray Rice Video Shines Light on Domestic Abuse

images-1The Baltimore Ravens released Ray Rice after the media obtained a long-awaited video of the star running back brutally punching his then-fiancee.

Rice escaped criminal charges of aggravated assault, but his career in the NFL may be over. The NFL, which initially issued a mere slap on the wrist with a two-game suspension, has suspended Rice indefinitely.

The incident has focused the entire country’s attention on the prevalence of domestic violence.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong advocacy for plaintiffs and defendants in Protection From Abuse (PFA) and criminal domestic violence cases. Call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Fight Back Against Allegations of Abuse

86505321Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for people to exaggerate, fabricate or outright lie to receive a Protection From Abuse (PFA) order. As a result, many innocent people are unfairly swept into the court system. Spivak Law Firm strongly defends such people and has an excellent record of success in getting bogus PFA orders dismissed.

But what if you did it? In other words, should a person who has perpetrated abuse under Pennsylvania law simply accept a three-year Final PFA? Or is it still worthwhile to retain an experienced PFA attorney and fight back against the charges?

At Spivak Law Firm, we recommend fighting back.

In cases where the evidence is stacked against our clients, we are still able to help them by protecting their child custody rights, safeguarding their property, limiting the duration of a PFA order, and advising them on moving forward with their lives. In many cases, we are successful in avoiding a Final PFA even where abuse occurred.

At Spivak Law Firm, we do not judge our clients. We advocate strongly for them. We understand that we all have done things for which we are not proud. We treat our clients with dignity and respect by making ourselves accessible and by striving to build the strongest possible defense in every case.

Served with a PFA? Call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Why Having a Will is Essential in Pennsylvania

83496541Your last will defines what you want to give, where you want it to go, and how you want your last wishes carried out. The key to a will is to keep it up-to-date about you and your life. A will that is clearly defined and current is the best piece of legal work that you have that can be used to honor your wishes.

With the help of a will, you will be able to clearly define your loved ones’ futures. If you forget to go back to your will and include your newest grandchild, or you forget to make changes to your child’s college education requirements, they may end up losing out. If something changes down the road, include it in your will. You should come back to your will each year to consult it and consider any necessary changes that need to be made.

To speak with a Pittsburgh attorney about drafting your will, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Getting A Continuance In A PFA Case

77005984In most cases, Judges will allow at least one continuance in a Protection From Abuse (PFA) matter.

PFA hearings are generally scheduled within 10 days. The defendant in a PFA case should have no problem getting a continuance if he or she has not been timely served or needs additional time to retain an attorney.

Parties may be surprised when a Court won’t grant a continuance of a PFA hearing. Continuances are generally only granted for good cause. The plaintiff may not be entitled to a continued hearing date if the defendant is present and wants to go forward.

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

How To Appeal A Summary Trial Decision 

139378055Trials often determine important rights of the individuals involved. Even two reasonable people may disagree with the results of a trial. The judicial system in Pennsylvania has a built-in process where you can appeal a District Judge’s decision and be heard before a different judge. This is called a trial de novo. Allegheny County residents have 30 days from the date of a summary trial decision to file an appeal at the Department of Court Records, Room 115, Allegheny County Courthouse, in downtown Pittsburgh.

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

Phone Rules for Parents Who Share Custody

78287715There are no specific rules on how to maintain contact with your children when they are with the other parent. It depends on the age of the child, the relationship the child has with the parent, the individual characteristics of the child, and the relationship the parents have with each other. Some children want a phone call and enjoy speaking to the other parent. Other children are not verbally expressive, which makes phone conversations frustrating and difficult. Family therapists recommend abiding by the following phone rules:

  • There should be an effort by both parents to allow contact between the child and the other parent, especially if that’s what the child genuinely wants
  • The younger the child, the more contact is preferred
  • When a parent calls to speak to his or her children, have the children take responsibility for answering the phone or returning the call
  • Do not use the phone to intrude on the child’s time with the other parent or to maintain influence over the child when the child is in the other home
  • Do not use the phone to have the children spy on the other parent and report all the “bad things” that are going on
  • Use the phone in a way that serves the child’s needs, not the parent’s need to continue to influence the child and to interfere with the child’s relaxation and enjoyment of time in the other parent’s house

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

Family Law Help in Allegheny County

111787230Not everyone struggling with issues of divorce, child custody and support can afford an attorney. Some simply wish to handle matters themselves.

In Allegheny County, the newly formed Family Division Self-Help Center guides such people through the court system. The center, which opened in January 2014, has already assisted more than 1,500 clients, according to Lawyers Journal, a publication of the Allegheny County Bar Association.

Located on the first floor of the Family Law Center at 440 Ross Street in downtown Pittsburgh, the center is open each weekday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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

Family Law Protections for Rape Victims

Beautiful baby of three months old in his mothers hands.Earlier this summer, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill restricting men who father children through rape from asserting child custody and visitation rights.

Additionally, the bill allows rape survivors to seek child support from their assailants, according to RH Reality Check, a daily publication focusing on reproductive health and justice, citing a 2012 article by Spivak Law Firm published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Nationwide, about 25,000 women become pregnant through rape each year.

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

Pennsylvania’s Juvenile Justice System

76801927The juvenile justice system in Pennsylvania is based on the idea of Balanced and Restorative Justice, which aims to give balanced attention to victims of crime, the community, and juvenile offenders.

This system aims to restore victims to their pre-crime situation, keep the community safe, and help juveniles become productive, law-abiding citizens. Juveniles are held responsible for their actions while victims are given the chance to have a say in the court process. Every case is different, and the juvenile justice system encourages individual responses based on each case’s unique characteristics.

If your child faces juvenile delinquency, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.