Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

Based in Pittsburgh, PA

412-344-4900

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PFA Orders

Temporary PFA v. Final PFA

If you are served with a Temporary PFA, a hearing will be scheduled within 10 days.

At the hearing, a judge will hear testimony and review evidence to determine if a Final PFA is warranted.

Most requests for a Temporary PFA are granted. No judge wants to deny a person’s request for protection then find out later that the person seeking help was seriously harmed.

The chances of obtaining a Final PFA are significantly lower, especially if you have an experienced PFA defense attorney.

The Final PFA represents the first time in the process that the defendant can push back on the abuse allegations.

The defendant can testify, cross-examine the accuser, call witnesses to the stand, and provide documentary evidence for the court to review.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong representation at PFA hearings in Pittsburgh and all surrounding counties, including: Allegheny, Armstrong, Crawford, Beaver, Buter, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Mercer, Somerset. Venango, Washington and Westmoreland.

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

Final PFA: A Life-Long Record of Abuse

Many people who are served with a Temporary Protection From Abuse (PFA) Order make the mistake of not taking it seriously.

They might not hire an attorney. This is mistake because the alleged victim will almost certainly have an experienced trial lawyer. Pittsburgh and all surrounding counties have local nonprofit organizations that provide free lawyers for people alleging abuse.

Some defendants do not even show up to court for the Final PFA hearing. This is a mistake because failing to appear for the hearing will usually result in a maximum three-year Final PFA against you.

All defendants should have an experienced PFA attorney evaluate their case even if they no longer want to have contact with the person alleging abuse.

A Final PFA creates a permanent record of abusive behavior.

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

PFA Hearing: Do I Need A Lawyer?

Q: I’ve been served with a PFA. Do I need an attorney?

A: Yes.

In Pittsburgh and surrounding counties, a free attorney is provided to anyone alleging abuse in PFA Court.

Therefore, if you are a PFA defendant, you should level the playing field by hiring an attorney to represent you.

Otherwise, you will be negotiating with and potentially facing off in court against a seasoned PFA lawyer.

A Final PFA carries significant consequences.

You may be evicted from your home and restricted from your children. You may lose your job. You could even lose your liberty and go to jail if accused of violating the PFA.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, aggressive defense at Final PFA hearings. If necessary, we subpoena documents and witnesses. We are experienced trial lawyers.

We offer a free consultation for PFA matters and generally charge a flat fee so our clients know upfront exactly how much our representation will cost.

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

PFA Hearings: Child Testimony

A child under 13-years-old who alleges physical or sexual abuse may not have to testify at a Protection From Abuse (PFA) hearing under Pennsylvania Law.

The Tender Years Hearsay Act allows a psychologist or caseworker from Children Youth and Families (CYF) to testify on the child’s behalf.

The purpose of the Act is to protect children from the added trauma of appearing in court to describe the details of the alleged assault.

New legislation may expand the Act to include children under 17-years-old.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania opposes the bill on grounds that it violates the defendant’s right to due process.

Courts heavily rely on other professionals to determine whether abuse on a child actually occurred.

There may be a forensic interview conducted by a child abuse specialist in the presence of a police detective and a CYF caseworker.

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of family law and criminal defense with a special focus on PFA, domestic abuse and high-conflict child custody.

Call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Domestic Abuse and Mass Shootings

Experts say there are striking parallels between the factors that drive domestic violence and mass shootings.

FBI data on mass shootings from 2009 to 2015 show that 21 percent of the attackers had previously been charged with domestic violence.

For instance, Omar Mateen, the gunman in the nightclub massacre in Orlando, Florida, had reportedly beaten and attempted to control his ex-wife during their brief marriage.

“Take the dynamic of coercive violence to its most horrible extreme,” according to an article in The New York Times, “and it looks an awful lot like how the Islamic State treats women. It is intimate violence on an industrial scale.”

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of family law and criminal defense with a special focus on domestic abuse.

Call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Tracking PFA Defendants

Under Pennsylvania law, a Protection From Abuse (PFA) order carries serious consequences.

It may evict you from your home, restrict you from your children, and even lead to your arrest.

New legislation may further strengthen the law by requiring PFA defendants to wear an electronic monitoring device.

Dozens of other states allow GPS monitoring for domestic-violence suspects.

In Pennsylvania, such devices are commonly used for criminal defendants.

PFAs are administered by family courts, though violating a PFA order may lead to criminal charges including Indirect Criminal Contempt, which carries a maximum six-month jail sentence.

The legislation regarding electronic monitoring comes on the heels of the 2018 law requiring a person under an active PFA order to turn over their firearms to local law enforcement within 24 hours.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, compassionate, cost-effective representation at PFA hearings. For a free consultation, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Domestic Violence and the “Boyfriend Loophole”

Existing federal law forbids people convicted of domestic violence against a current or former spouse to buy or own a firearm.

But what if the abuse was perpetrated by an intimate partner who is not your spouse?

Lawmakers may close the so-called “boyfriend loophole” to expand protections for abuse victims.

Efforts to renew the Violence Against Women Act include a provision to prohibit firearm ownership by those convicted of abusing, assaulting or stalking a dating partner, or to those under a restraining order.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, compassionate, cost-effective representation. We handle all areas of family law and criminal defense with a special focus on domestic violence, child custody, and Protection From Abuse (PFA).

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

Children Who Witness Domestic Abuse

Children who witness domestic abuse may have the following range of symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Sleep disturbance
  • School problems – refuses to attend, truancy, poor performance
  • Anxiety, fear of abandonment
  • Increased violent behavior
  • Verbal abusiveness, lying
  • Regression – wanting bottle, baby talk, thumb sucking
  • Perfectionism
  • Shyness
  • Tantrums

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of family law, including: child custody, child support, divorce, Protection From Abuse (PFA) and Children Youth and Families (CYF).

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

PFA Orders May Affect Divorce

Protection From Abuse (PFA) orders can significantly affect a divorce.

A PFA can evict a person from their own home for an extended period of time. If you are going through a divorce, a PFA can evict a spouse from the marital residence and provide the other spouse leverage for maintaining the residence as part of the divorce settlement.

A PFA can also restrict a parent from his or her children. This could have a detrimental effect on your custody rights as you proceed through divorce.

If your custody rights are restricted due to a PFA, you may also be required to pay child support as a result since the other parent is primarily raising the child.

Spivak Law Firm handles all family law matters, including: divorce, child custody, child support, PFA defense, PFA for victims, division of assets and debts, spousal support, and alimony.

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

Couples Break Up In PFA Court

Under Pennsylvania law, Protection From Abuse (PFA) orders require a family or intimate relationship between the alleged victim and abuser.

While some rare cases pit parent against child or brother against brother, the vast majority of cases occur between spouses or ex-lovers.

PFA court can be highly emotional, as people are torn from their children, evicted from their homes, and fear losing their jobs.

An abuser often wants to reconcile with the person who obtained the PFA against them. In these situations, it is hard for them to accept that their relationship has been ended without an ability to speak or get closure.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, compassionate, cost-effective representation at PFA hearings. To speak with an experienced PFA attorney, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.