Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

Based in Pittsburgh, PA

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Allegheny County Family Lawyer

Three Types of PFA Orders

There are three types of PFA orders in Pennsylvania.

PFA stands for Protection From Abuse.

A PFA is a restraining order that prohibits the alleged abuser from having any contact with the alleged victim.

Under Pennsylvania law, abuse is defined broadly. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, threats of violence, harassment, and stalking.

A person seeking protection from a family member or current or former sexual partner may obtain one of the following three types of PFA orders.

First, an Emergency PFA will last through a weekend or holiday when courts are generally closed. It expires automatically.

Second, a Temporary PFA triggers a hearing date that is supposed to occur within ten days. In Allegheny County and other counties surrounding Pittsburgh, courts grant more than 90 percent of requests for a Temporary PFA.

Third, a Final PFA may be obtained by consent, failing to appear, or after a hearing before a judge. A Final PFA may remain in place for up to three years.

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.

PFA Hearings and Settlement Options

In Allegheny County, dozens of Final PFA hearings are scheduled every day. But judges actually hear only a handful of cases.

That’s because most PFA matters get resolved out of court through settlement by the parties’ attorneys.

In Allegheny County, there are many ways to settle a PFA matter without need for a court hearing, including:

-Withdraw the Temporary PFA

-Replace the Temporary PFA with an agreement to have no contact that also may address issues of child custody and housing

-Continue the Temporary PFA for a period of time set to expire

-Consent to a Final PFA without admitting to the allegations of abuse

-Consent to a Final PFA for a duration less than the three-year maximum

At Spivak Law Firm, we are aggressive trial lawyers who have also effectively negotiated hundreds of PFA cases to meet client goals. To learn more about possible settlement options for your PFA matter, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

What is an Emergency PFA?

A person seeking protection from an abuser may obtain an Emergency PFA even when courts are generally closed.

In Allegheny County, local magistrates and a night court judge are available to grant Emergency PFAs at any time, including: on weekends, during holidays, and late at night.

An Emergency PFA expires when courts resume their regular business hours. Therefore, an Emergency PFA granted on Saturday night will generally expire the following Monday.

A person who obtains an Emergency PFA will often return to Court during regular business hours to request a Temporary PFA, which will trigger a hearing date so a judge may determine whether a Final PFA is warranted.

A Final PFA can last up to three years.

The person accused of abuse does not receive any notice or opportunity to defend against the Emergency PFA or Temporary PFA.

Defendants are given the opportunity to challenge the abuse accusations at the Final PFA hearing before a judge.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, aggressive 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.

Helping Parents Cope With Remote Learning

Remote learning has proven difficult or even disastrous for many students who have seen their grades drop since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Parents, too, have been strained both financially and emotionally as they try to work while giving their kids the support they need.

For parents who are now effectively listening in on their children’s classes for the first time, the tone or style of a teacher’s approach to correcting students can be stressful to overhear.

Witnessing our kids’ experiences can be jarring for a parent, as they may be criticized or scolded for not paying attention or not being prepared.

A recent article in The Washington Post describes ways for parents to cope: “Just acknowledging the emotional labor and time that goes into navigating remote school is an important step.”

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, compassionate, cost-effective representation in all family law matters, including: divorce, child custody, child support, and Protection From Abuse (PFA).

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

Back to School During COVID-19

As the new school year begins, parents with differing views on whether to send their kids to school during COVID-19 are continuing to resolve their legal custody disputes in family court.

Judges face a challenge when balancing parental rights and health.

In Allegheny County, the bar has been set high for judges to change time-sharing schedules even in situations where parents are front-line workers.

Currently there is no FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccination for children under 12. Family law experts anticipate more court disputes involving parents who disagree about whether to inoculate their children against COVID-19 as the vaccines become available for young children.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, compassionate, cost-effective representation in all child custody matters, including: negotiating and drafting custody agreements, enforcing custody orders, and litigating high-conflict custody trials.

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

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.

What If I Don’t Pay Child Support?

If you don’t pay your child support, your wages may be withheld.

Other child support enforcement measures include:

  • Your federal and state income tax refunds can be taken if you owe overdue child support;
  • The court can order banks and credit unions to turn over your financial assets to pay your overdue child support;
  • If you are late in paying child support, your name and the amount of back support you owe may be reported to the major credit bureaus;
  • The court may suspend your driver’s license if you owe more than three months of child support;
  • Your overdue child support may become a lien against all real estate you own in Pennsylvania.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, compassionate, cost-effective representation in all family law matters, including: divorce, child custody, child support, and Protection From Abuse (PFA).

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

Child Custody and Healthy Anxiety

Anxiety is a critical protective mechanism that children begin to develop during their first year of life.

Healthy anxiety warns us when danger might be ahead, and for babies and toddlers, separation anxiety marks a developmental milestone as children begin recognizing that loved ones offer the most safety and protection.

Short, manageable meltdowns that happen right after day care drop-off, at bedtime, or when a parent leaves the room are normal and generally self-limiting.

Those episodes can also happen during periods of transition, such as after moving into a new home or starting a new school.

They typically last only a few minutes and go away entirely after the child has had a few weeks to adjust to the new routine.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, compassionate, cost-effective representation in all child custody and family law matters. To schedule a 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.

Child Custody: Strategies to Prevent Meltdowns

Young children may exhibit symptoms of separation anxiety when their parents divorce. Symptoms may include whimpering to be picked up, shrieking if a parent leaves the room, or wailing at bedtime.

Child psychologists recommend the following strategies to prevent or de-escalate meltdowns:

  • Validate their feelings: Acknowledge that you understand why the situation makes them feel scared, and encourage them to practice being brave and trying an activity on their own.
  • Reward quiet acts of bravery: Avoid prolonging goodbyes and paying attention to tantrum. Be sure to reward them for playing alone or going to bed without fuss.
  • Practice routines: If you suspect that your child might struggle with an upcoming event, like starting remote learning, returning to preschool or an overnight visit with family, practicing the routine a few days before can help your child prepare.
  • Provide a transitional object: Give your children something small and personal that reminds them of home – that they can keep in their pocket or cubby and retrieve when they need to feel a connection to loved ones.
  • Relieve your own stress: Anxious parents can exacerbate their children’s anxiety, so take steps to relieve your own stress.

Spivak Law Firm handles all family law matters, including: divorce, child custody, child support, spousal support, alimony, separation of assets and debts, estate planning, 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.