Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

Based in Pittsburgh, PA

412-344-4900

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Criminal Court: The Process

If your criminal case cannot be resolved at the preliminary hearing before a magistrate, it moves to the Court of Common Pleas in the county where the alleged crime occurred.

First, there will be a formal arraignment. Your attorney will enter his or her appearance and obtain your next court date.

Next, there will be a pretrial conference. Your attorney will meet with the prosecutor to discuss everything from documentary evidence to key witnesses to potential settlement options including plea deals.

If the case cannot be resolved, it will move to a trial. Your case may be tried before the assigned judge or a jury of your peers.

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of criminal defense with a special focus on domestic-violence defense.

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

Is Spanking Harmful to Kids?

Parents should not spank their children due to the harmful effects of corporal punishment, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The group also advised against using non-physical punishment that is humiliating, scary or threatening.

Corporal punishment is defined as “non-injurious, open-handed hitting with the intention of modifying child behavior.”

It is associated with increased aggression and defiance, producing effects similar to those of children who experience physical abuse, according to recent studies.

It is estimated that about two-thirds of parents in the United States have spanked their children.

Spivak Law Firm handles all family law matters, including: child custody, child support, divorce, Protection From Abuse (PFA), and Children Youth and Families (CYF). To schedule a consultation with an experienced family law attorney, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Child Support And Cash Assistance

People who receive cash assistance generally cannot receive child support under Pennsylvania law.

If you receive cash assistance, current child support owed during the time you receive cash assistance will be paid to the state.

This is called “assignment of support rights.”

The amount of your support that may be collected by the state is limited to the amount of cash assistance you receive.

Spivak Law Firm handles all matters related to child support, including: filing for child support, negotiating settlement agreements, calculating child support, and advocating for our clients at child support hearings.

To learn more about child support in Pennsylvania, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

What Is CYF?

Children Youth and Families is the name of the child-welfare agency in Allegheny County.

The stated purpose of CYF is: to protect children from abuse and neglect, to keep families together whenever possible, and to make sure that every child has a safe, permanent home.

The agency ensures that basis needs are met by their families, including: food, safe housing, supervision, clothing, and medical care.

The agency investigates reports of child abuse, neglect, and teen issues to determine if they are true.

If the reports are true and safety issues identified, the agency must decide if the child will be safe if they stay in their parent’s home.

Most of the time, children can stay in their home with their parents and the family will receive services to address the safety issues.

Other times the safety issues cannot be addressed while the child remains in the home and the child enters placement.

Children may be placed with a relative, in a foster home, or in a group home facility.

When a child is placed, visitation must be arranged for the child and the parent to keep their relationship strong.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, effective advocacy for people facing child abuse allegations. To speak with an attorney experienced in family law and criminal defense, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Divorce: Negotiating Settlements

In most divorce cases, attorneys informally provide one another documents regarding their clients’ marital assets and debts on their way to negotiating a financial settlement.

The parties have a legal obligation to share all relevant information prior to resolving their economic claims, including:

-Bank accounts

-Retirement accounts

-Investment portfolios

-Mortgage statements

-Credit card statements

If a financial settlement is reached, the attorneys will draft a marital settlement agreement or consent order of court resolving economic claims.

If necessary, we will also draft deeds transferring ownership of the residence and documents necessary to divide retirement accounts.

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of family law, including divorce, spousal support, alimony, dividing assets and debts, child custody, and child support.

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

Child Custody and Health Issues

Childhood obesity rates have risen to alarming levels in America.

Due to increased awareness into the long-term health consequences associated with obesity, parents and courts have grown concerned.

During custody disputes, many Moms and Dads may point out the physical health of their children as an attack against the other parent.

Pennsylvania courts decide custody disputes in the best interests of the child.

If a child’s health problems associated with obesity are exacerbated by decisions made by a parent, this has the potential to negatively impact their case.

For instance, if Dad regularly provides fast food meals for his overweight, diabetic child, a judge could determine that primary custody should go to Mom, who regularly makes healthy meals and exercises with the child.

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

PFA Orders Affect Hunters and Gun Owners

Under Pennsylvania law, an active Protection From Abuse (PFA) order restricts defendants from possessing firearms.

If you’ve been served with a PFA, you may have to relinquish all your guns.

This is the case even when there are no specific allegations of threatening behavior involving a firearm.

For people who enjoy hunting, the removal of their firearms can be devastating.

In rural counties, judges sometimes try to persuade defendants to accept settlement terms in order to avoid the risk of a final PFA order that could keep them from hunting for as long as three years.

At Spivak Law Firm, we provide strong, aggressive representation at PFA hearings in Pittsburgh and all surrounding counties, including: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Crawford, Fayette, Indiana, Lawrence, Mercer, Washington and Westmoreland.

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

Child Custody During COVID-19

COVID-19 has presented new challenges for people sharing custody of their children, as disagreements occur over how much the kids should be allowed to leave home or socialize.

Co-parents may disagree about school reopening, play dates, and extra-curricular activities.

In some Pennsylvania counties, including Allegheny County, courts have generally directed parents to follow their court-ordered schedules throughout the pandemic.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, compassionate, cost-effective representation in all child custody and family law matters.

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

How to Receive Child Support

In Pennsylvania, there are two ways to receive child support payments.

Most people who receive child support choose to have the money directly deposited into their bank account.

Some elect to use an EPPICard, which is a type of debit card. You cannot make your own deposits onto an EPPICard account, which can be used at most retail stores, grocery stores and ATMs.

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

Our child support lawyers are experienced at running support calculations, filing support actions, negotiating and drafting support agreements, and representing our clients at support hearings to achieve the best possible outcomes.

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

Don’t Let A Criminal Record Hold You Back

If a criminal record is holding you back, you now have several options for relief under Pennsylvania law.

First, if the charges were withdrawn or dismissed, or if you were convicted on a low-level offense and five years have passed, you can have your record expunged, which effectively erases the information from the public dockets.

Second, Pennsylvania recently adopted a new law allowing for limited access orders, which restricts employment agencies and internet websites from accessing any information relating to a conviction or arrest for people convicted of second- and third-degree misdemeanors.

Third, if you are currently serving a sentence for a crime, you can seek total forgiveness through by formally requesting a pardon from the governor. Obtaining a pardon tends to be more expensive and challenging the administrative processes for obtaining an expungement or limited access order.

To learn more about options for dealing with your criminal record, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.