Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

Based in Pittsburgh, PA

412-344-4900

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Family Law

Child Custody Trial Tips

Courts make custody decisions in the best interests of the children, which typically means judges are looking at which parent is best fit to meet the children’s day-to-day needs.

It’s not enough to tell the court that your ex never does anything for the children and is a bad parent.

Rather than spending time listing out all of the things your ex never does for the children, devote the majority of your time to presenting yourself as the parent best equipped to meet the day-to-day needs of the children.

If you take the children to school every morning, help them with their homework every night, and get them ready for bed most nights, let the court know.

Sometimes it pays to be positive at child custody trials.

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

Divorce: Hidden Assets

Discovery, the formal legal process for obtaining information in a divorce, is essential if your ex refuses to provide important financial information.

Discovery is also an important tool if you believe your ex is hiding financial assets.

People do not usually engage in formal discovery for divorce because it can be expensive and time-consuming.

But you have may have no choice if your ex withholds or conceals information that is necessary for determining the value of the marital estate.

The most common forms of discovery include:

Requests for Production: requests for documents that must be provided

Interrogatories: written questions that must be answered

Depositions: sworn testimony given in the presence of a court reporter

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of divorce and family law. To schedule a consultation, call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

PFA Destroys Reputations

A Protection From Abuse (PFA) Order can ruin a person’s reputation.

A PFA is a restraining order that alleges abusive behavior, such as: physical violence, sexual violence, harassment, threats of violence, or stalking.

In Pennsylvania, most defendants first learn about the PFA when a police officer serves them with the Order.

This can be humiliating when done at work where colleagues and employers are immediately made aware of the issue.

It’s no less embarrassing when served at home in front of neighbors and family.

The PFA petition, which details the alleged abuse, is an easily accessible public document.

The petition may contain lies or exaggerations, though it appears official because it is part of a formal Order of Court signed by a judge.

At Spivak Law Firm, we provide strong defense at PFA hearings. We also help people erase PFA petitions and orders from the public record when possible.

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

Child Custody Do’s and Don’ts

One of the most difficult issues for parents who share custody of their children is visitation. Some parents use visitation to achieve destructive goals. However, this can deeply hurt the children caught in the middle.

If you are struggling with visitation, take a look at these Do’s and Don’ts:

Do Make Visitations A Normal Part of Life: Find activities that give you and your children opportunities to build your relationship.

Don’t Argue With Your Ex In Front Of Your Child: Deal with important issues in a separate meeting or telephone call.

Do Show Flexibility Regarding Visitation Schedules: Give the other parent as much advance notice of changes in visitation as possible and respect their need for flexibility.

Don’t Try To Disrupt Your Child’s Relationship With Your Ex: Children need to know that it is okay to love both parents.

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: Co-Parenting

A key to effective co-parenting is encouraging your children to enjoy time with your ex.

Avoid telling your children that they are visiting with the other parent.

You don’t want to diminish your ex’s role as a parent or make your child feel like a guest in a home where they also reside.

Try to ensure your children feel at ease when transitioning from home to home.

It won’t always be easy, but try to encourage strong ties between the children and their other parent.

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of family law, including: divorce, child custody, child support, spousal support, and Protection From Abuse (PFA). We routinely help people with child custody issues, including: negotiating custody agreements, custody relocation, and custody trials.

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

Collaborative Divorce In Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania recently passed a law providing guidelines for collaborative divorce, in which couples may agree on any type of financial plans that work for them, even if it might be outside the authority of the courts.

In a collaborative divorce, each spouse is represented by an attorney and enters a participation agreement with the goal of preparing a legally binding agreement resolving all issues.

The parties agree at the outset that, should they fail to negotiate a resolution, they will each be required to retain new counsel and new law firms for any subsequent litigation.

The process allows divorcing couples to take more control of the outcome and to have privacy in resolving their differences without involving the court.

It typically involves numerous meetings with both parties, a collaborative coach and the attorneys.

The meetings address all elements of the divorce, including custody, support, and division of the marital assets.

The spouses may also be assisted by specialized experts such as tax accountants, financial planners, parenting coaches and counselors who are jointly retained by the parties.

Trained in collaborative divorce, Attorney Todd Spivak is an active member of the Collaborative Law Association of Southwestern Pennsylvania (CLASP). To learn more, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Grandparents Have Child-Custody Rights

Under Pennsylvania law, grandparents for years have held a special status that allows them to seek custody of a grandchild even against the parents’ wishes.

A new law that went into effect last summer intended to clarify the specific situations under which grandparents may pursue partial physical or supervised custody of a grandchild.

For instance, a grandparent may seek custody so long as the relationship with the child began either with the consent of a parent of the child or under a court order and the parents of the child have been separated for at least six months.

Alternatively, the new law invests custody rights in grandparents even the parents oppose it in cases when the parents are going through a divorce.

Spivak Law Firm handles all child custody and support matters, including: custody trials, custody conciliations, drafting custody orders, custody relocation, father’s rights, mother’s rights, and grandparents’ rights.

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

PFA And Divorce: Date Of Separation

The filing of a Protection From Abuse (PFA) petition against a married partner may be the first step toward divorce.

If so, the PFA will usually as a clear date of separation when the couple stopped living together.

This may prove important, as divorce laws in Pennsylvania permit a spouse to delay the divorce process by a year.

The filing of a PFA often starts the clock on the one-year waiting period.

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of family law, including: divorce, child custody, child support, spousal support, and PFAs.

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.

Collaborative Divorce: A New Trend

A new Pennsylvania law aims to legitimize collaborative divorce and create a uniform standard of practice.

Collaborative divorce is a relatively new, alternative way for couples to obtain a divorce without need for court intervention.

Collaborative divorce involves a problem-solving approach with interest-based negotiations rather than positional bargaining.

It involves several meetings with two clients, two collaborative lawyers, a facilitative coach who is a mental health professional, a neutral financial professional and a neutral child specialist if needed.

The meetings address all elements of the divorce, including child custody, child and spousal support, and division of the marital assets and debts.

Spivak Law Firm has received specialized training in collaborative divorce with membership in the Collaborative Law Association of Southwestern Pennsylvania. To schedule a consultation, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Child Custody Schedules

When a court has ordered shared custody between parents, it can be particularly challenging to alter that joint schedule.

But there are a number of circumstances where a judge may consider changing a custody schedule, including, when you or your ex:

  • Attempt to alienate the child from the other parent;
  • Repeatedly denigrate the other parent to the child;
  • Are charged or convicted with a crime;
  • Are incarcerated;
  • Are investigated by Children Youth and Families (CYF);
  • Abuse drugs or alcohol, or;
  • Relocate outside of the county.

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