Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

Based in Pittsburgh, PA

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Family Law

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.

What If A Person Lies To Get A PFA?

At Spivak Law Firm, we provide strong, aggressive defense at Protection From Abuse (PFA) hearings in Pittsburgh and all surrounding counties, including: Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Indiana, Mercer, Washington, and Westmoreland.

Our clients often ask us if the alleged victim will face any consequences for lying or exaggerating to the court in order to obtain the Temporary PFA order.

Unfortunately, in our experience, the answer is: no.

People falsely accused of abuse may file a complaint with the police, but the district attorney’s office is unlikely to prosecute for fear of having a chilling effect on other people seeking protection.

Even in extreme circumstances, district attorney’s offices rarely prosecute plaintiffs who have filed repeated PFA petitions in multiple counties with outrageous, unsubstantiated accusations that are later dismissed.

It is commonly known that some people abuse the PFA system in order to gain leverage in a divorce or child custody action.

At Spivak Law Firm, we handle all family law and criminal defense matters, including: PFA defense, criminal domestic violence defense, divorce, child custody, child support, and criminal record expungements.

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

3 Tips For Child Custody and Divorce

Divorce can be a difficult experience for many children.

By focusing on your child’s best interest, you can ensure that they are cared for just as well as if you and your spouse were still together.

Here are three tips for maintaining your child’s best interest during divorce:

  • Encourage your child not to take sides. Don’t blame your spouse for the divorce in front of your child. Instead, remain respectful about and to your former spouse in front of your child.
  • Avoid leaning on your child for emotional support. If you need help dealing with the emotional burden of divorce, turn to a counselor or therapist. Your child will have a difficult enough time dealing with his or her own emotions without feeling responsible for yours.
  • Hire an experienced family lawyer. Navigating the divorce process can be overwhelming and stressful. A knowledgeable family attorney understands how choices made in the legal process can affect life afterwards.

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

PFA Law: What Is Abuse?

Under Pennsylvania Law, the term “abuse” is defined broadly when determining whether to grant a Protection From Abuse (PFA) order. It does not merely include physical violence.

There are many forms of alleged “abuse” that could justify a PFA, including:

-Physical violence

-Threats of physical violence

-Sexual violence

-Threats of sexual violence

Harassment

-Stalking

-False imprisonment

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, aggressive defense at PFA hearings. We routinely take cases in Pittsburgh and all surrounding counties, including: Allegheny County, Beaver County, Butler County, Fayette County, Indiana County, Mercer County, Washington County, and Westmoreland County.

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

Child Custody: Parental Alienation

Parental alienation may occur when one parent continually trash talks the other parent to their children.

This behavior can have devastating results. Your children may no longer wish to see you or your extended family. And despite your repeated requests, your ex may not cooperate in efforts to address the problem.

If you’ve been alienated from your children, you can petition the court for counseling with your children. It is recommended that you seek counseling from a licensed professional who routinely handles custody and parental alienation cases. Although you may feel angry and heartbroken, be patient with your children through the process.

Spivak Law Firm routinely handles child custody matters involving allegations of parental alienation. We represent clients in all areas of family law with a special focus on child custody and domestic abuse.

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

Divorce and Marital Assets

Q: I think that my spouse is hiding marital assets – what should I do?

A: If you suspect that your spouse is hiding or misrepresenting the value of marital assets, your divorce attorney can investigate by initiating a formal discovery process.

Divorcing spouses are required to exchange documentation proving the value of marital assets, the amount of marital debt, and the incomes of both spouses. The discovery process compels the spouse to release all relevant documentation regarding marital assets, debts, and income.

Although discovery can be time-consuming, it is sometimes necessary to uncover a spouse’s hidden assets.

Spivak Law Firm provides experienced counsel to help you navigate the divorce process in a way that protects your interests. To schedule a consultation, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Marriage and Divorce Rates

As the national divorce rate falls to its lowest point in decades, 73% of U.S. adults say divorce is “morally acceptable,” a recent Gallup poll finds. Divorce rates have fallen below the heightened levels of the 1980s and 1990s.

Researchers found that marriage rates have also fallen with more young adults delaying marriage. It may be that both marriage and divorce are no longer viewed in moral terms but rather seen as legal processes.

Based in Pittsburgh, Spivak Law Firm routinely handles all areas of family law, including: divorce, spousal support, child custody, child support, and Protection From Abuse (PFA). 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: 3 Tips for Parents

Children thrive on routine. A shift in the family dynamic can be difficult for children.

You and your ex may follow a consistent child custody schedule, but shuttling back and forth between two homes can be confusing for the children.

To help your children adjust between exchanges, consider the following three tips:

  • Give the children a chart of the custody schedule;
  • Remind the children ahead of time when an exchange will take place; and
  • Remind the children when they will see you next.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, compassionate, cost-effective representation in all family law matters with a special focus on child custody and child support. To speak with an experienced child custody attorney, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Factors for Creating a Child Custody Schedule

You and your ex are best positioned to create a child custody schedule, particularly because you know what will be in your child’s best interests. The following factors are important to consider when creating a custody schedule:

  • The age of the child;
  • Medical, educational, and social needs of the child;
  • Sibling relationships;
  • The child’s school schedule;
  • The child’s extracurricular activity schedule;
  • Your work schedule;
  • Your ex-spouse’s work schedule;
  • The distance for exchanges;
  • Your ability to communicate effectively with your ex-spouse.

Even though you may agree on a schedule with your ex, it is critical that you fully understand your rights before entering into a custody agreement. It’s possible that you are agreeing to a schedule that will substantially restrict your rights as a parent.

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