Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

Based in Pittsburgh, PA

412-344-4900

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Allegheny County Child Custody Lawyers

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.

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.

Child Custody and Travel Amid Coronavirus

Q: I do not want my children to travel during the Coronavirus outbreak, what can I do?

A: Your Court Order likely provides vacation time for you and your ex, but it probably does not include what to do in cases of a public health emergency.

If your ex seeks to take your child to a Coronavirus epicenter or out of the country, this may constitute an emergency matter necessitating Court intervention.

An attorney can draft and present an emergency petition to the Court to restrict the other parent’s ability to travel with your child.

In Allegheny County, Courts are generally directing parents to follow child custody orders and continue with custody exchanges despite government directives to stay at home.

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

Divorce Process In Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, most divorce cases proceed with litigation in which each spouse retains an attorney to represent his or her interest.

There are many opportunities to negotiate a settlement agreement resolving all economic claims.

If there are significant assets and debts in the marital estate, the attorneys will often engage in discovery – a formal process for obtaining all the relevant information.

Each side will file an inventory of their marital estate with the Court, then assign values to each asset and debt based on financial documentation.

If necessary, a family-court judge will attempt to mediate a settlement between the spouses. If no agreement is reached, there will be a hearing to determine a fair division of the marital estate.

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

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

Divorce: Cheating Spouses

Divorce often occurs when there are allegations of cheating.

But proving such allegations rarely affects the divorce process.

Under Pennsylvania law, there is no need to prove fault to obtain a divorce.

You might still have to pay alimony to your ex, even after proving that he or she engaged in an extra-marital affair that led to the divorce.

At Spivak Law Firm, we provide strong, compassionate, cost-effective representation in all areas of family law, including: divorce, child custody, child support, spousal support, alimony, counsel fees, and dividing assets and debts.

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

Common Divorce Myths

When it comes to divorce, many common beliefs are accepted as truths. However, the process of divorce is complex and every case is unique.

Here are some of the most common divorce myths and why they aren’t always true:

  1. Mom always gets custody: In Pennsylvania, the law does not favor either parent for custody. The judge is required to look at what is in the child’s best interest.
  2. Only women get alimony: Historically, women have been awarded spousal support or alimony more often than men. As more women enter the workplace and change gender roles, it is becoming more common for men to receive some form of alimony. Alimony is generally awarded to the lower earning spouse when there is a significant disparity in incomes.
  3. I don’t need a divorce lawyer: Even if you are on good enough terms with your spouse going into the divorce, you need to make sure you have someone in your corner who is going to ensure your rights are protected.

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of family law, including: divorce, 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.

Enforcing Divorce Agreements

You may avoid mediation, court hearings, and costly attorney fees by simply negotiating a Marriage Settlement Agreement with your ex.

At the time you finalize the divorce, you may ask the court to merge the Agreement into the final divorce decree. The Agreement becomes a contract between you and your ex. If your ex violates its terms, you may remedy the violation by seeking damages.

Keep in mind that it is easier to address violations of the Agreement if it has been incorporated into the final decree. When incorporated, it becomes an official court order that may be enforced through contempt powers of the court.

Spivak Law Firm routinely handles divorce, equitable distribution, and drafting Marriage Settlement Agreements. Call us 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.

Alimony and Tax Benefits in Pennsylvania

Alimony represents the payments a higher-earning spouse makes to a lower-earning spouse after their divorce has been finalized.

Historically, the spouse making the payments could deduct alimony on his or her taxes. The spouse receiving the payments had to include the income for tax purposes. Thus, the paying spouse received a tax benefit.

Under the new law, which takes effect on January 1, 2019, alimony payments will no longer be deductible for the payor nor taxable for the receipient. Thus the spouse receiving the alimony payments will also get the tax benefit.

If you are considering a divorce, it may benefit you to wait for the new tax law to take effect or to finalize your divorce in advance.

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