Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

Based in Pittsburgh, PA

412-344-4900

Spivak Law Firm is BBB Accredited

Pittsburgh Media Features Attorney Todd Spivak

Attorney Todd Spivak, owner of Spivak Law Firm, recently published an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about the importance of vigorously defending people accused of committing heinous crimes.

Attorney Spivak, a two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee, practices family law and criminal defense with a special focus on child custody and domestic-violence defense. His article discusses the challenges of handling high-conflict emotional cases involving people with mental illness, substance abuse, and histories of violent behavior.

Spivak Law Firm has represented hundreds of people in Pittsburgh and surrounding counties, including: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Lawrence, Indiana, Mercer, Washington, and Westmoreland. Call us today at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Clean Your Criminal Record

In Pennsylvania, the old expungement law only allowed summary convictions to be erased from your criminal record. Fortunately, that has changed, as Pennsylvania recently expanded the laws for people to erase or conceal their criminal records from employers so they can move on with their lives.

In many cases, people convicted of second- and third-degree misdemeanors will be permitted to request a court order limiting public access to their criminal records. You may be eligible if you have been free of arrest and/or conviction for the past ten years, and if you fulfilled all requirements in your sentences.

Spivak Law Firm routinely helps people clean their criminal records for employment reasons and to preserve their reputations. Call us for a free consultation at: (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Child Custody: Parenting Together

Under Pennsylvania law, the standard for determining child custody schedules is “the best interest of the child.”

Your judge may be hesitant to grant shared custody in high-conflict cases, so it is important to try and work together with the other parent. Demonstrate to the judge that the two of you communicate well enough to facilitate exchanges and ensure the welfare of your child.

Unless there has been a history of domestic abuse, it will also work against your custody case if the judge finds that you discourage your child from fostering a relationship with the other parent. If it is time for the custody exchange and your child does not want to leave, encourage them to go and that they will have a good time.

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

PFA Law Restricts Guns

Spivak Law Firm has represented many people who cherish the Constitutional right to own guns. Some are hunters. Some are police officers and other law-enforcement officials whose livelihoods depend on the ability to carry a firearm.

In Pennsylvania, the Protection From Abuse (PFA) law has been changed to restrict gun ownership against people accused of domestic abuse.

For the first time, a person subject to a Final PFA order will be required to give up his or her guns to police within 24 hours. The law applies even in cases of alleged stalking and harassment where a firearm was not involved.

The law is controversial because the burden of proof for obtaining a Final PFA order is far lower than for obtaining a criminal conviction. In fact, many people subject to Final PFA orders are never even charged with a crime.

If you’ve been served with a PFA, call Spivak Law Firm for a free consultation at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Divorce: Risks For Kids

Research shows that divorce poses serious physical and emotional risks for children that can cause problems well into adulthood. Divorce can be a rough transition for children and it may be wise to enlist the help of a professional.

However, it is not abnormal for children to show signs of stress as they adjust. There are some general clues to look for when trying to decide whether your child needs therapy.

If you notice unusual behavior that persists for more than a couple of weeks, it is a sign your child might need help. Other specific symptoms include social withdrawal, increased sleepiness, and persistent mood swings.

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of family law, including: divorce, child custody, child support, and PFA hearings. To speak with an experienced family law attorney, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Juvenile Defense in Allegheny County

As the saying goes, “kids will be kids.”

Perhaps your child was influenced by others, was in the wrong place at the wrong time, or acted in the heat of the moment.

But in the eyes of the law, the criminal actions of children can have serious consequences, such as being adjudicated delinquent and even removed from the family.

Criminal charges can adversely impact your child’s ability to obtain a driver’s license, employment, and even student loans.

Spivak Law Firm, which handles all family law and criminal defense matters, represents juveniles in Allegheny County.

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

Domestic Violence: Victim Blaming

Criminal domestic violence court can be a site of victim blaming, but not just by alleged abusers. Spivak Law Firm advocates educating judges overseeing cases of domestic violence to avoid using victim-blaming language.

Victim advocates recommend instructing judges to use language that more appropriately describes the effects of domestic violence and holds abusers responsible.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, aggressive representation for plaintiffs and defendants at Protection from Abuse (PFA) and criminal domestic violence hearings. We routinely volunteer with Neighborhood Legal Services Association to help victims of domestic violence obtain protection orders from their abusers.

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

PFA Hearings: Burden Of Proof

We’ve all heard the phrase “burden of proof.” What does it mean?

Burden of proof refers to how convincing the evidence must be to obtain a criminal conviction or Protection From Abuse (PFA) order.

In criminal court, the burden of proof is very high: beyond a reasonable doubt. This means the judge or jury must be 99 percent certain that the defendant committed the crime in order to convict.

In PFA court, the burden of proof is much lower: preponderance of the evidence. This means the judge must be just 51 percent certain that the alleged abuser acted in a way that warrants a Final PFA order.

It is much easier to get a Final Order than a criminal conviction because the burden of proof is so much lower.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, aggressive defense at all PFA and criminal domestic-violence hearings. We routinely handle PFAs and PFA violations, as well as criminal domestic-violence charges such as simple assault, aggravated assault, terroristic threats, harassment, stalking, recklessly endangering another person, endangering the welfare of children, child abuse, and aggravated assault.

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

Divorce: Who Gets The Family Pets?

When undergoing divorce or separation, you are likely worried about child custody, division of your property, and your pets.

You may view your dog or cat as a member of the family, but under Pennsylvania law, they are as much family as your television set. Pets are technically personal property, which means that a court will not order visitation or custody schedules for pets.

Courts will likely classify the pet as marital or non-marital property. If your ex purchased the pet prior to the marriage, the pet will be considered non-marital property and will likely go to your ex.

However, you have the option to bypass formal court proceedings and mediate this issue with your ex to develop an agreement that works for both of you.

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of family law, including: divorce, child custody, child support, and PFA hearings. To speak with an experienced family law attorney, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Child Custody for Dads

Do courts always give Moms custody?

No. Times have changed; the children do not automatically go to Moms after separation. In many cases, judges award shared custody schedules or even award Dads primary physical custody.

Pennsylvania courts decide custody in the best interests of the children by weighing sixteen factors. Among the factors, your judge will consider the level of conflict between you and your ex, the distance between your residences, and your respective work schedules. But gender preference is not among the sixteen factors.

Under Pennsylvania law, Dads have as many rights as Moms to the custody of their children. In Allegheny County, judges commonly award shared custody schedules that provide each parent equal time with the kids.

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