Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

Based in Pittsburgh, PA

412-344-4900

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Family Law

Guidance for Parents Seeking a Divorce

Parents who wish to get a divorce typically have four major issues to resolve.

First, you must determine how to divide time with your children. This is known as child custody. Many parents equally share custody of their children, though there may be reasons for one parent to serve as the primary caregiver.

Second, you must determine if either parent is eligible to receive financial assistance. This may come in the form of child support or spousal support. Child support will be paid until all the minor children turn 18 or graduate from high school. Spousal support may end when the divorce is resolved or, in some cases, continue even after the divorce in the form of alimony.

Third, you must divide the marital estate by determining the values for all assets and debts accumulated during the marriage. Assigning values to some assets can prove complicated. For instance, appraisals may be necessary to determine the value of the marital residence, family business, or retirement accounts.

Fourth, you must obtain a decree in divorce. The decree is a legal document issued by the Court of Common Pleas in your county indicating that the divorce has been finalized. Some spouses wish to resume their maiden name when finalizing a divorce.

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas related to divorce and family law, including: child custody, child support, spousal support, alimony, division of assets and debts, name changes, and Protection From Abuse (PFA). To schedule a consultation with an experienced divorce and family law attorney, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Talking to Kids About Divorce

Parents going through a divorce should take steps to protect their children’s emotional health.

Professionals recommend that parents determine in advance what they will say to their kids.

Parents should make clear that the divorce has nothing to do with the children, and work together to ensure consistency in their daily routines.

Individual counseling or family counseling may be helpful to address any lingering concerns.

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

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 Custody: Back to School Amid COVID-19

In Pennsylvania, many school districts are offering parents three options for school amid COVID-19:

  • Option #1: Go to a physical classroom inside their school building
  • Option #2: Attend school online only
  • Option #3: Choose a hybrid of the first two options by going to a classroom for part of the week and attending school online for the remainder

Parents who share custody of their children may not agree on which option to choose. One parent may feel that send their child into a classroom is too risky given the coronavirus. One parent may feel strongly that the risk of infection by sending the child into a physical classroom is low and necessary to ensure proper learning.

If the parents cannot agree, then a hearing officer may make the decision for them at a school-choice hearing. Both parents will get the opportunity to explain their positions, and the hearing officer will make a decision based on the children’s best interests.

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

Factors For Modifying Child Support

A child support order may be modified at any time based on a change in circumstance.

The following factors related to the child support order are considered:

  • The income of either parent significantly increases or decreases;
  • The child now has significant or continuing medical expenses;
  • Child care and/or medical insurance changes;
  • The parents are now living together; or
  • The child receiving support is 18-years-old and graduated from high school.

Spivak Law Firm routinely helps people at child support hearings by providing strong, compassionate, cost-effective representation.

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

Wills and Powers of Attorney For Young Adults

It’s never too early to start thinking about drafting your Last Will and Testament and Powers of Attorney.

Clearly stating health care wishes and appointing a person to direct them are important at every age because accidents happen.

The trauma of an accident is exacerbated when sensitive health care decisions must be made based on assumptions, leaving family members, doctors, or even judges guessing about the patient’s values.

If you are healthy and young, you may still want to get certain wishes down in writing for just-in-case situations. For many parents, this means determining who will care for their children in the event of an emergency or crisis.

For more information about drafting your Last Will and Testament and Powers of Attorney, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Final Preparations for Divorce

When preparing for divorce, you should take stock of all your financial assets and debts.

For many families, the most significant assets include the marital residence and retirement accounts.

Other assets may include bank accounts, investment accounts, vehicles, jewelry, and furnishings.

Debts commonly include credit cards, mortgage balances, home-equity lines of credit, and student loans.

At Spivak Law Firm, we routinely help people determine the value of their marital estates and negotiate marriage settlement agreements.

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

Pennsylvania Child Support Guidelines

The Pennsylvania Child Support Guidelines were developed with the principle that the children of separated, divorced or single parents should receive the same amount of parental support as if the parents were together.

The State Supreme Court issued these Guidelines for calculating how much child support a parent should pay.

The Guidelines are based on the needs of the child and the ability of the parents to provide child support until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later. The incomes and assets of both parents are considered when the court establishes a support order.

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

For more information, call Spivak Law Firm 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.