Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

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PFA Hearings And Child Custody


PFA Pic9If you’ve been served with a Temporary Protection From Abuse (PFA) Order, it is likely that you’ve been evicted from your home and restricted from having any contact with your children. This can be devastating for a parent.

Under Pennsylvania law, the alleged “abuser” gets no opportunity to contest the accusations until the PFA Hearing some 10 days later. If you are a parent served with a PFA, we strong advise that you hire an attorney with experience in both criminal defense and child custody matters.

“Victims” of abuse get free attorneys to represent them at PFA Hearings in Pittsburgh and all surrounding counties — Allegheny County, Beaver County, Butler County, Washington County, and Westmoreland County.

If you go to PFA Court without an attorney – or with an attorney who does not routinely handle child custody matters – you risk losing custody of your kids for an even longer period of time.

It is commonly known that many “victims” of abuse exploit the PFA system in an attempt to gain leverage in a child-custody battle. Do not let this happen to you.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, aggressive representation in all PFA and child custody matters. Call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

In A PFA, What Is Third-Party Contact?


PFA Pic2Victims of domestic violence, harassment, and stalking are often instructed to obtain a Protection From Abuse (PFA) Order that restricts contact between the parties. A PFA is also known as a restraining order or no-contact order.

In Allegheny County, a PFA Order typically states that the alleged abuser shall not contact the victim, including through third persons. What does that mean exactly?

Third-party contact refers to having a friend or family member contact the victim about the PFA. For instance, if you are a defendant in a PFA matter, you cannot have a mutual friend pressure the victim into withdrawing the PFA.

Indeed, you cannot communicate any message to the plaintiff whatsoever. Even a non-threatening message such as “I miss you” could get you arrested for violating the no-contact order.

Spivak Law Firm provides aggressive representation for defendants and victims at PFA hearings. To schedule a free consultation, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Why You Should File A Summary Appeal


Expunge Pic2In Allegheny County, if you are convicted of a summary offense such as harassment, disorderly conduct, retail theft, defiant trespassing, or underage drinking, then you should seriously consider filing a summary appeal.

If you file a summary appeal within 30 days of the conviction, you will be given a new trial – known by attorneys as a trial de novo – in the Court of Common Pleas.

There often is no transcript of the original summary trial conducted before your local magistrate. Thus, a summary appeal provides a second opportunity to have the charges against you dismissed.

At Spivak Law Firm, we handle summary trials, summary appeals, and expungements of criminal records. To schedule a free consultation, call (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Why You Need A Child Custody Order


The father and the son

Q: My ex and I get along well. Do we need a child custody order?

A: Yes.

A child custody order is critical even for parents who communicate well and cooperate with one another. Without a court order, each parents risks enduring bad behavior by the other parent.

For instance, without a custody order, your ex may suddenly relocate to a new state or school district without seeking your consent. During holidays, especially, a custody order is critical if one parent unilaterally decides to withhold the child from the other parent.

A custody order is fully enforceable by a judge. Violating the order can result in make-up time with the children and sanctions such as attorney fees.

Even under the best-case scenarios where parents remain friendly, an enforceable child custody order is highly advisable. To speak with an experienced child custody attorney, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.


What’s In A Child Custody Order?

Beautiful baby of three months old in his mothers hands.A child custody order can be short – as little as half a page – or very long – running many dozens of pages. Child custody orders typically direct how parents:

–Share responsibility for making major decisions that affect the children

–Share time with the children during the school year

–Share time with the children during the summer months

–Share time with the children during holidays and birthdays

–Communicate about the children

–Communicate their vacation plans

–Transport the children for custody exchanges

–Notify one another if they plan to relocate

Parents need not follow the order so long as they both agree to changes. But in the event parents disagree, the order provides a framework that enables them to co-parent effectively while minimizing conflict.

At Spivak Law Firm, we provide strong, compassionate representation in all child custody matters. Call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

High Conflict Child Custody Cases

Custody Pic9In Allegheny County, parents are strongly encouraged to determine their own child custody schedules. In most cases, with the help of family law attorneys and court-appointed mediators, parents are able to reach agreement on how to divide time with their children.

But high-conflict custody cases often cannot be resolved through negotiation. Parents with serious communication problems and high levels of anger and distrust may take their cases to trial.

At Spivak Law Firm, we are effective negotiators who help parents craft their own child custody orders. We are also trained trial lawyers experienced at aggressively litigating cases to reach our client’s goals.

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

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.