Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

Based in Pittsburgh, PA


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Allegheny County Divorce Lawyer

How to Calculate Alimony in Pennsylvania

Unlike child support and even spousal support during the marriage, Pennsylvania law does not provide any formula for determining an alimony award.

After a divorce decree has been entered, the lower-earning spouse may be entitled to continued financial support in the form of alimony.

Courts generally award alimony only if the division of the marital estate is not sufficient to help the dependent spouse.

Alimony is based on the financial need of the dependent spouse and the length of the parties’ marriage.

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

Protecting Kids In Divorce

The divorce process can be enormously difficult when children are involved.

A study by researchers at the University of York found that children of divorced parents are more damaged by the fighting during the marriage than the split itself. This inter-parental conflict may be harmful to a child’s development, making them more likely to have difficulty with peers, drop out of school and experience emotional problems.

Spivak Law Firm handles all family law matters, including: divorce, child custody, child support, 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.

Tips For A Positive Divorce

Divorce is often one of life’s most difficult and painful transitions, but there are things you can do to diminish the emotional toll.

Here are some tips for easing the pain of divorce:

  • Practice empathy and forgiveness.
  • Take the high road.
  • Take responsibility for your actions.
  • If you have children, focus on their happiness.

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.

Dividing Marital Property


ConflictUnder Pennsylvania divorce law, marital property is divided through a process known as equitable distribution. Marital property includes property acquired during the marriage, such as: houses, cars, retirement accounts, jewelry, artwork, etc.

To save significant time, stress, and money, you may bypass the formal equitable distribution process by reaching agreement on the distribution of marital assets through a written Marriage Settlement Agreement.

Spivak Law Firm handles divorce, equitable distribution trials, and the drafting of Marriage Settlement Agreements. Call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Limit Stress In Divorce

ConflictDivorce can be one of the most stressful times in a person’s life. You may take comfort in the fact that family and friends have taken your side in the matter, but this may create conflict. What appears to be emotional support may actually be encouragement to fight and argue.

It is best to enter negotiations, or even litigation, with a level head in order to avoid making rash decisions that are not necessarily in your best interest. If you (or someone close to you) are in the process of divorce, lend support. But avoid causing conflict.

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

How A PFA Affects Your Divorce

Family Pic3When you initiate a divorce, it is important to keep your emotions in check. Divorce can be emotionally draining, but the playing field may quickly uneven when one party obtains a Temporary Protection from Abuse (PFA) Order.

Avoid any form of contact that could be construed as abusive, which includes shouting matches with your ex. Your ex could file a PFA against you after a verbal argument claiming that she fears you.

The PFA can evict you from your home, restrict your child custody rights, require you to pay support, and order you to continue contributing to marital home expenses.

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.

Reduce Waiting Period for Divorce

Conflict between the man and the woman

If one spouse does not consent to a divorce, then the spouse seeking the divorce must wait two years before requesting a final decree. Currently Pennsylvania is considering legislation to reduce the waiting period for a contested divorce to one year.

Pennsylvania House Bill 380 calls for reducing the waiting period for a no-fault divorce based on separation from two years to one.

Proponents of the legislation say that expediting divorce will enable courts to focus greater attention on child custody disputes.

“Where the divorce is inevitable,” attorney Maryann Modesti testified at a recent meeting of the Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee, “allowing the family to focus on the challenge of co-parenting as divorced parents is better than the emotional toll of a delay in the divorce litigation.”

Currently many other states impose a short waiting period than two years. For instance: Maryland has a one-year waiting period; New York has a six-month waiting period; and West Virginia imposes no waiting period at all.

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

High Conflict Child Custody Cases

Custody Pic9In Allegheny County, parents are strongly encouraged to determine their own child custody schedules. In most cases, with the help of family law attorneys and court-appointed mediators, parents are able to reach agreement on how to divide time with their children.

But high-conflict custody cases often cannot be resolved through negotiation. Parents with serious communication problems and high levels of anger and distrust may take their cases to trial.

At Spivak Law Firm, we are effective negotiators who help parents craft their own child custody orders. We are also trained trial lawyers experienced at aggressively litigating cases to reach our client’s goals.

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

Don’t Let A PFA Stop You From Being A Parent

dandelion wishing blowing seedsUnder Pennsylvania law, you can file for custody even if there is a Protection From Abuse (PFA) restraining order against you. If the PFA does not allege abuse against a child, you may even be entitled to primary or shared custody.

If the PFA does include allegations of abuse against a child, you still may get time with your child depending on the circumstances. In such cases, there may be a period of time where your custody visits are supervised. But supervised custody tends to be temporary, so hang in there and you’ll eventually see your custody time increase.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, compassionate, cost-effective representation in all PFA and child custody matters. We represent clients in Pittsburgh and all nearby counties including: Allegheny County, Beaver County, Butler County, Washington County, and Westmoreland County. Call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

A Brief History of Child Custody

Beautiful baby of three months old in his mothers hands.In child custody cases today, both parents increasingly enjoy significant amounts of parenting time. Recent studies show that child custody norms are changing significantly in the 21st century, with the proportion of parents sharing custody rising dramatically.

Historically, shared custody was never the norm.

In colonial times, American Courts followed the English common law rule that upon divorce the father retained custody of the children. Fathers had the right to the physical custody, labor and earnings of their children in exchange for supporting, educating, and training them to earn their livelihoods. At that time, mothers did not have legally enforceable parental rights.

This bias toward men flipped in the early 20th century with two cultural transformations: the industrial revolution’s remaking men into marketplace wage earners and the emergence of women as domestic caregivers. Under the “tender years” doctrine, custody of young children was almost exclusively awarded to mothers upon divorce.

Mounting divorce rates in the 1960s and ensuing decades provoked a lively debate about parental roles and custody issues. The movement for gender equality, along with the rise of fathers’ rights groups, called attention to the importance of both parents in the care of children.

In most states today, including Pennsylvania, the standard for deciding custody cases is based on the best interests of the child. This standard opens up the possibility of excessive judicial discretion as well as a threat of inconsistent rulings, resulting in hotly contested custody battles.

But it has also led to the rise of shared custody orders, as judges increasingly follow the recommendations of family psychologists who espouse the benefits to children who have equal time with both parents.

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