Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

Based in Pittsburgh, PA

412-344-4900

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Allegheny County Family Law Firm

5 Tips for Co-Parenting During Coronavirus

In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania directed all Courts to generally close to the public from March 19, 2020 through at least April 3, 2020, with limited exceptions.

Absent a true emergency, parents are stripped of the ability to bring child custody matters to Court until at least April 3, 2020, or even as late as mid-April in some counties.

Until you are able to proceed through the Court, we recommend following these five tips:

  • Comply with your Custody Order of Court as much as possible, unless in cases of true emergency.
  • Be honest with your co-parent about suspected and/or confirmed exposure to the Coronavirus, work together to limit your child’s exposure, and immediately notify one another if your child exhibits symptoms of the virus.
  • Provide makeup time to your co-parent if they have missed out on time with your child. The Court expects parents to work together to reasonably accommodate one other, and may hold your inflexibility against you in future proceedings.
  • Try to be understanding and flexible. If possible, try to work together for the sake of your child. Parents may be subject to layoffs and unable to make support payments.
  • Encourage the relationship between your child and your co-parent. Your co-parent may be working extra hours in the wake of this crisis, or may even be forced into a weeks-long quarantine. Work together to provide telephone calls, FaceTime, and/or Skype between your child and co-parent.

The attorneys at Spivak Law Firm are available to counsel you and provide options for how to best handle your custody concerns. To speak with an experienced child custody lawyer, 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.

Grandparents Have Child-Custody Rights

Under Pennsylvania law, grandparents for years have held a special status that allows them to seek custody of a grandchild even against the parents’ wishes.

A new law that went into effect last summer intended to clarify the specific situations under which grandparents may pursue partial physical or supervised custody of a grandchild.

For instance, a grandparent may seek custody so long as the relationship with the child began either with the consent of a parent of the child or under a court order and the parents of the child have been separated for at least six months.

Alternatively, the new law invests custody rights in grandparents even the parents oppose it in cases when the parents are going through a divorce.

Spivak Law Firm handles all child custody and support matters, including: custody trials, custody conciliations, drafting custody orders, custody relocation, father’s rights, mother’s rights, and grandparents’ rights.

To speak with an experienced child custody attorney, 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.

In Family Court, Be Respectful

You may think that the conversation you are carrying on in the halls of Family Court will not get back to your judge. But there are eyes and ears everywhere in the courthouse, and news travels fast.

A flippant comment made out of frustration may be relayed back to the judge, which could hurt your case. Even worse, if your behavior rises to the level that security is called to calm you down or escort you from the courthouse, it could taint the way the judge views you and your case.

You never know who is listening in on your conversation, so be respectful at all times.

Spivak Law Firm handles all family law and criminal defense matters. For a free consultation 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.

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.

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.