Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

Based in Pittsburgh, PA

412-344-4900

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Bogus PFAs Turn Lives Upside Down

In many Pennsylvania counties, judges grant more than 90 percent of requests for a Temporary Protection From Abuse (PFA) order.

Judges tend to err on the side of caution, figuring that a person seeking protection must need it. After all, it would be tragic if the person seeking protection wound up injured or worse after a judge denied the PFA.

But judges should also consider how their decision to grant the PFA will affect the accused. Every day, PFA orders evict people from their homes, restrict parents from their children, and threaten people’s jobs and reputations.

At Spivak Law Firm, we are dismayed by some of the PFAs granted by judges based on weak allegations.

For instance, in one recent case, the person seeking protection admitted in her petition that she had not seen or communicated with the accused for a year.

In another recent case, the person awarded protection told the judge that the defendant only communicated with her subliminally.

We were successful in getting both cases dismissed. But the PFAs never should have been granted because the plaintiffs were not in reasonable fear of imminent bodily injury.

They caused unnecessary emotional and financial stress in people who did nothing to warrant a PFA.

At Spivak Law Firm, we provide strong representation at PFA hearings. If you’ve been falsely accused of abuse, call (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Divorce: Dividing Marital Debts

When dividing a marital estate, it is important to value all of the assets accumulated during the marriage.

It is equally important to value all of the debts, which may include mortgages, car loans and school loans.

Credit cards comprise the most common debt in most divorce cases.

For many people, separating the credit-card debt is key to reaching a resolution on economic claims. If possible, they may attempt to pay off all credit-card debt as part of the divorce settlement in order to get a fresh start in their new lives.

Spivak Law Firm provides smart, compassionate, cost-effective representation in all family-law matters, including: divorce, child custody, child support, spousal support, alimony and Protection From Abuse (PFA).

For more information, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

PFA and Domestic Abuse Amid Coronavirus

“Mass shootings garner attention and frighten the public much more than episodes of domestic violence,” according to a recent article in The New York Times. “But domestic violence has a much higher death toll in the United States.”

Each year, some 900 women in the United States are murdered by their current or former intimate partners.

That single-year tally is more than nine times the number of people killed in jihadist attacks on American soil in the past decade.

At their most basic level, both mass terrorism and intimate terrorism of domestic violence are attempts to provoke fear and assert control. Many experts have expressed concern about the rise of domestic violence incidents during stay-at-home orders related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of family law and criminal defense with a focus on domestic abuse and child custody. For a free consultation, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Child Custody and Travel Amid Coronavirus

Q: I do not want my children to travel during the Coronavirus outbreak, what can I do?

A: Your Court Order likely provides vacation time for you and your ex, but it probably does not include what to do in cases of a public health emergency.

If your ex seeks to take your child to a Coronavirus epicenter or out of the country, this may constitute an emergency matter necessitating Court intervention.

An attorney can draft and present an emergency petition to the Court to restrict the other parent’s ability to travel with your child.

In Allegheny County, Courts are generally directing parents to follow child custody orders and continue with custody exchanges despite government directives to stay at home.

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

Paying Child Support During Coronavirus

With forced business closures and company-wide layoffs, the Coronavirus crisis has wreaked havoc on the U.S. economy. Many Americans have lost their incomes altogether, which may have negatively impacted their ability to pay child support.

If there is an Order of Court to pay child support and/or spousal support, it must be followed. If individuals fail to pay support, the court may enter a judgment for the total amount of unpaid support, requiring immediate payment in full. Failure to comply with a support order of court could result in sanctions such as attorney’s fees, license suspension, and even incarceration.

It is important to understand that child support is not a fee that one parent pays to get access to the child. Parents who refuse visitation when their ex owes child support may be held in contempt of court for violating the terms of the child custody agreement.

If you have had a substantial change in financial circumstances, you may be entitled to seek a modification to your Support Order.

Spivak Law Firm offers strong, compassionate representation in all family law matters, including child and spousal support. We help families determine the amount of support owed and represent clients in support hearings and enforcement actions.

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

PFA Courts Remain Open During COVID-19

Although courts across Pennsylvania have largely closed due to the coronavirus crisis, Protection From Abuse cases are still occurring due to the emergency nature of a PFA.

Spivak Law Firm is continuing to accept PFA clients and provide strong representation at PFA hearings.

A PFA is a restraining order that prevents all contact when there are allegations of:

  • Physical violence
  • Sexual violence
  • Threats of violence
  • Harassment
  • Stalking

A PFA is a powerful tool that can instantly evict you from your home, restrict you from your children, result in termination from your employment and even land you in jail.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, compassionate representation in all PFA matters. For a free phone consultation, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Divorce With Compassion

A divorce may be resolved in just a few months, though some cases drag on for years due to financial complexities in the marital estate and conflict between the parties.

For most people, divorce represents one of the most stressful and painful episodes in their lives.

It is common for one spouse to be further along emotionally than the other spouse in coming to terms with the divorce.

At Spivak Law Firm, we guide our clients through the divorce process with compassion.

In many cases, we are able to negotiate a financial settlement that meets their needs without ever having to go to court.

We handle all areas of family law, including: divorce, child custody, child support, spousal support and Protection From Abuse (PFA).

For more information, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Kids Who Witness Violence

Children who witness abuse suffer emotionally behaviorally, and cognitively.

There are no typical reactions to violence experienced by children.

Factors that may affect their behaviors include:

-Age

-Gender

-Amount of violence witnessed

-Type of abuse witnessed

-Whether the child is a victim as well as an observer of the abuse

Parents should try to be aware of behaviors that are unusual for a particular child and continue for a week or more.

If necessary, they should seek the help of a mental-health professional.

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of family law with a special focus on child custody and domestic abuse. Call us today at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Custody Exchanges During Coronavirus

Do I have to exchange my child during the Coronavirus?

Absent a true emergency, you must abide by the terms of your Custody Order. A party who willfully fails to comply with any Custody Order may be found in contempt of Court.

At this time, the Pennsylvania Courts have not yet established if the COVID-19 pandemic is a valid justification for a parent failing to follow their Custody Order.

If you can still exchange your child safely, you should do so. Be as reasonable and accommodating with the other parent as possible. Communicate with the other parent to develop an exchange plan that limits exposure to the virus and aligns with CDC and government recommendations.

An experienced attorney can help you navigate these issues and help create options. For instance, your attorney may communicate with your ex or their attorney directly to develop a plan for custody exchanges, or even entering a Consent Order for guaranteed makeup time once the threat of the Coronavirus eases.

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

5 Tips for Co-Parenting During Coronavirus

In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania directed all Courts to generally close to the public from March 19, 2020 through at least April 3, 2020, with limited exceptions.

Absent a true emergency, parents are stripped of the ability to bring child custody matters to Court until at least April 3, 2020, or even as late as mid-April in some counties.

Until you are able to proceed through the Court, we recommend following these five tips:

  • Comply with your Custody Order of Court as much as possible, unless in cases of true emergency.
  • Be honest with your co-parent about suspected and/or confirmed exposure to the Coronavirus, work together to limit your child’s exposure, and immediately notify one another if your child exhibits symptoms of the virus.
  • Provide makeup time to your co-parent if they have missed out on time with your child. The Court expects parents to work together to reasonably accommodate one other, and may hold your inflexibility against you in future proceedings.
  • Try to be understanding and flexible. If possible, try to work together for the sake of your child. Parents may be subject to layoffs and unable to make support payments.
  • Encourage the relationship between your child and your co-parent. Your co-parent may be working extra hours in the wake of this crisis, or may even be forced into a weeks-long quarantine. Work together to provide telephone calls, FaceTime, and/or Skype between your child and co-parent.

The attorneys at Spivak Law Firm are available to counsel you and provide options for how to best handle your custody concerns. To speak with an experienced child custody lawyer, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.