Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

Based in Pittsburgh, PA


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What Can I Ask For In A PFA?

Expunge Pic7In a Protection From Abuse (PFA) petition, you can ask the judge to:

  • Order the abuser to stop threatening, abusing, harassing or stalking you and your children
  • Have the abuser evicted from your joint home or excluded from your residence
  • Keep your new address or location confidential
  • Grant you temporary custody of your children
  • Grant you temporary child or spousal support as well as other reimbursements of out-of-pocket expenses that were caused by the abuser
  • Order the abuser not to have contact with you or your children, or family members
  • Restrict the abuser from contacting you at school or work
  • Order the abuser to turn over firearms to the sheriff
  • Order any other appropriate relief, for instance, requesting the return of your pet, car keys, important papers, etc.

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

The Needs and Rights of Children

dandelion wishing blowing seedsIdeally children should be parented cooperatively. They should be permitted and encouraged to form the best possible relationship with both parents and develop health connections with the families of both parents as well. If children feel safe and secure in their primary relationships, they are likely to be successful, happy, and well-adjusted. The goal is to establish a base from which children can continue their uninterrupted healthy growth patterns.

Every child has the right to:

  • Develop a relationship with both parents
  • Exist in a world free of parent-driven conflict
  • Go back and forth to visit freely between both parents
  • Spend time and engage in activities with both parents
  • Have a comfortable and safe space in both homes
  • Expect consistent behavior from both parents
  • Have the major issues (medical, legal, educational) shared with both parents
  • Not ever be put in a position to choose between their parents
  • Sometimes make their own choices and to be heard
  • Be a child

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

A Parent’s Responsibilities

Custody Pic5Every parent has the responsibility to:

  • Engage in the best possible cooperative parenting partnership
  • Encourage and promote their children’s relationship with the other parent
  • Make and keep appropriate custody and visitation schedules
  • Develop their own parenting style and not deliberately interfere with the other parent’s parenting
  • Provide private and comfortable space for their children in their home
  • Provide good, safe, and appropriate child-care when parents cannot be available
  • Communicate with the other parent about legal, educational, medical, and financial needs
  • Support their children’s participation in educational or extra-curricular and community activities

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, compassionate representation in all child custody matters. To speak with an experienced family law attorney, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Strong Defense at PFA Hearings

702075.TIFAttending a Protection From Abuse (PFA) hearing without an experienced attorney often proves disastrous for defendants. A PFA is a powerful tool that can evict you from your home, restrict your child-custody rights, and lead to your arrest based on a mere allegation of violating it.

In Pittsburgh and most surrounding counties, “victims” of domestic violence and child abuse get a “free” lawyer to help them obtain PFA orders.

But PFA defendants do not get a free lawyer. Many PFA defendants wrongly believe that they are entitled to a public defender. But a PFA is not a criminal matter, so public defenders generally cannot get involved.

A Final PFA Order will stay on your record for the rest of your life. It is a public record that may cause embarrassment, tarnish your reputation, and hurt your job opportunities.

Spivak Law Firm aims to provide the strongest possible defense at PFA hearings in Allegheny County, Beaver County, Butler County, Fayette County, Indiana County, Washington County, and Westmoreland County.

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

Listening To Your Child

Little girl wearing sundress holding flowersChildren want to talk. Children need to talk, and they also need someone to listen to them.

Think about how you might feel if you wanted to tell something to somebody and you could not find anyone to tell. Children must be able to express themselves freely and comfortably.

As adults, we can provide children with the security of listening to whatever they need to say. Be careful to respect something said in confidence if your child asks you to keep it just between the two of you.

If there are not good “listening times” available during your schedule, try to set aside some “special time” to just talk to your child on a regular, consistent basis.

There is a distinct difference between listening to your children and pumping them for information about the other parent. Enter their world and listen to what they need to talk about as children.

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

5 Tips for Parents Who Share Custody

Custody Pic1Parents who share custody of their children must learn to communicate effectively without engaging in destructive, unproductive arguments. Below are five tips for promoting effective communication:

  • Non-threatening communication is most effective: People feel accused and respond defensively when they are attacked verbally with the work “You.” Avoid beginning your sentences with “You” and try to use “I” or “We” whenever possible. Using “I” and “We” reflects feelings or attitudes about something and does not evoke a defensive response.
  • Limit communications to child-related issues: Pay attention to your non-verbal communications. More than half of communication is conveyed through facial expressions and almost 40 percent through the tone of your voice.
  • Try to decide ahead of time that you will not engage or participate in destructive communication: This is extremely difficult and may even seem a bit strained at first. Remember: It is your choice to stay in control. Problems cannot be resolved unless communication works constructively in the family partnership.
  • Pay attention and avoid parallel communication: Have you ever started a sentence and realized that the other person was not listening, but rather looking as if he or she was preparing to respond? Suddenly, the person begins talking and you continue trying to finish your part of the conversation. Both of you continue to communicate in a parallel manner, no one is heard and nothing is resolved. Parallel lines never come together and nothing ever changes with parallel communication.
  • Learn to listen to the other party: How we communicate and learn to negotiate our differences is the number one issue in the success or failure of any relationship – business, personal, or otherwise. Good communication gives us a means to express our thoughts, feelings, needs, and concerns. As human beings, we all want to know that someone is listening to us while we are talking. Effective listening validates the words of the communicator. When you know that people are listening to you, most likely you will want to make a conscious effort to listen to them.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, compassionate representation in all family law matters, including: divorce, child custody, child support, spousal support, and Protection From Abuse (PFA). To speak with an experienced family law attorney, call (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Are You A Victim Of Stalking?

PFA Pic2Stalking frequently occurs when someone tries to leave an abusive relationship. Statistics show that 60 percent of female stalking victims are stalked by their intimate partner.

If you are a victim of stalking, you may file a police report and/or obtain a Protection From Abuse (PFA) Order. It may also be helpful to have an attorney send the stalker a defiant trespass letter telling them that:

–You do not want contact with them

–You do not want them near your home, work, or school

Such a letter from an attorney is most effective if you can prove that the stalker received it and the police get a copy. If the stalking continues, you may then have a strong criminal case against your abuser for stalking, harassment, and defiant trespass.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, aggressive representation for plaintiffs and defendants in all domestic violence matters, including: PFA hearings, criminal hearings, child custody hearings, and CYF hearings.

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

PFA Hearings Present Many Challenges

PFA Pic1Under Pennsylvania law, a person served with a Protection From Abuse (PFA) order is entitled to a hearing within 10 days. The PFA hearing represents the defendant’s first and most important opportunity to refute the allegations, which may be false or greatly exaggerated.

In some ways, the expedited PFA hearing is beneficial, as the defendant may have been temporarily evicted from the residence and forbidden by court order to have any contact with his or her children. In such circumstances, the relatively short wait for a PFA hearing is positive.

However, in other ways, the expedited hearing often presents serious challenges for the defendant.

The PFA defendant must quickly (1) come up with money to retain an experienced attorney, (2) work with the attorney to build the strongest possible defense, (3) collect documentary evidence such as emails, texts, phone logs, and social media postings, and (4) possibly subpoena witnesses to testify at the hearing.

At Spivak Law Firm, we are committed to building the strongest defense as quickly as possible for PFA defendants who are accused of abuse. Though it sometimes makes sense to continue the hearing date to allow for more time to prepare, we generally do not recommend it.

So long as the Temporary PFA remains in place, you are at risk of being jailed for allegedly violating it. After all, someone who lies to get a PFA against you may also lie to get you arrested.

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

PFA: A Sword Or A Shield?

BU010665A Protection From Abuse (PFA) Order should be used as a shield not a sword.

It is commonly known that many people who seek the protections of a PFA are abusing the court system itself by seeking to gain leverage in child custody and divorce.

They may lie about abuse or greatly exaggerate the level of conflict.

After all, filing a PFA immediately evicts the “abuser” from the home. So if you want your spouse out of the house, a PFA is the fastest, cheapest, and easiest way to do it.

And if you want primary custody of your children, a PFA is the fastest, cheapest, and easiest way to get it.

But judges in Allegheny County and throughout Western Pennsylvania have zero tolerance for people who obtain PFA Orders to gain such advantages.

A PFA is meant to serve as a shield offering protections for people who have been physically or sexually abused.

A PFA should not be used as a sword to inflict pain or otherwise gain advantages in family court.

Based in Pittsburgh, Spivak Law Firm provides aggressive representation in PFA hearings. Call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

How Divorce Affects Young Children

Custody Pic8There is no “one size fits all” way that divorce affects young children, who are both resilient and fragile. They can adjust to the changes cause by separation if their parents develop a good co-parenting relationship and keep kids out of the conflict.

Young children can react to change in ways that seem strange to their parents. They may go back to a previous stage – for example, they now want a bottle when they had been drinking from a cup – or being clingy and anxious. Some children act out by becoming aggressive and angry; others withdraw or lose interest in playing and having fun. These behaviors can be a normal part of the divorce.

Parents sometimes forget that ending their relationship with each other does not end their relationship with their children. It’s hard to put aside anger and hurt, but that’s just what parents must do to help their children.

Remember that divorce doesn’t end a family. It reorganizes a family into two households, and your family values and traditions can continue. Of course, this applies also to parents who have never been married but who have lived together with their child.

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.