Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

Based in Pittsburgh, PA

412-344-4900

Spivak Law Firm is BBB Accredited

Dormont Family Law

PFA Hearings: No Right To Jury Trial

If you’ve been served with a Protection From Abuse (PFA) order, we urge you to take it seriously. A PFA can take away your home, your job, your children, and even your liberty. A PFA can destroy your reputation and stigmatize you as an abusive person for the rest of your life.

A PFA is a civil matter determined by judges in family court. There is no right to a jury trial at a PFA hearing because it’s not a criminal matter, though a PFA can quickly and easily result in criminal charges if you’re merely accused of violating the order.

Under Pennsylvania law, there is no right to a jury trial except in criminal cases whereby conviction could lead to a jail sentence exceeding six months. The maximum penalty for violating a PFA is six months and a $1,000 fine.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong representation at PFA hearings. Based in Pittsburgh, we represent clients in Allegheny County, Beaver County, Butler County, Fayette County, Indiana County, Mercer County, Washington County, and Westmoreland County.

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

Child Custody Tips For Memorial Day Weekend

While holidays offer parents an opportunity for quality time with their children, they also often involve issues such as fitting a vacation around the other parent’s schedule and giving up some time for the other’s sake.

Here are some valuable tips to help you have a great holiday:

  • Stick to the plan: If you agreed to a parenting or custody plan, you should try to stick to it as much as possible.
  • Plan ahead: Avoid misunderstandings and disagreements about who has the kids by discussing it with your ex in advance.
  • Maintain contact: Regardless of whether your child is with you or the other parent, it is vital for the child to stay connected with the parent who is not present.

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.

Child Custody Schedules

If you and your ex have a child custody order but follow a completely different schedule, you should consider updating your order.

For instance, your order stipulates that you have your children every other weekend, but you and your ex actually share custody of the children on a week on/week off arrangement.

You may think there is no need to update your current order, since you and your ex are following a schedule without issue. But if conflict arises, your ex could revert back to the custody order and withhold the children from you.

Based in Pittsburgh, Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of family law, including: divorce, child custody, child support, spousal support, equitable distribution, and Protection From Abuse (PFA). To speak with an experienced child custody attorney, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

PFA: Financial Abuse

In many domestic violence cases, financial abuse is what keeps a woman trapped in the abusive relationship. Even if these women are able to leave the relationship, their finances may remain in jeopardy.

A new startup company, FreeFrom, pilots entrepreneurship programs for domestic violence survivors. Many of the women enrolled in the program come in with small-business ideas and the organization helps identify what these women are good at and how they can turn it into an opportunity.

By helping survivors start businesses, they can earn their own incomes and achieve financial stability independent of a partner. Program participants can meet with FreeFrom’s team once a week for up to 90 minutes and the free service runs for a six-month period.

Spivak Law Firm provides aggressive representation for plaintiffs and defendants in domestic violence cases, including Protection From Abuse (PFA), Children Youth and Families (CYF), and criminal domestic violence. To schedule a free consultation, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Child Custody: Parenting Together

Under Pennsylvania law, the standard for determining child custody schedules is “the best interest of the child.”

Your judge may be hesitant to grant shared custody in high-conflict cases, so it is important to try and work together with the other parent. Demonstrate to the judge that the two of you communicate well enough to facilitate exchanges and ensure the welfare of your child.

Unless there has been a history of domestic abuse, it will also work against your custody case if the judge finds that you discourage your child from fostering a relationship with the other parent. If it is time for the custody exchange and your child does not want to leave, encourage them to go and that they will have a good time.

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

PFA Law Restricts Guns

Spivak Law Firm has represented many people who cherish the Constitutional right to own guns. Some are hunters. Some are police officers and other law-enforcement officials whose livelihoods depend on the ability to carry a firearm.

In Pennsylvania, the Protection From Abuse (PFA) law has been changed to restrict gun ownership against people accused of domestic abuse.

For the first time, a person subject to a Final PFA order will be required to give up his or her guns to police within 24 hours. The law applies even in cases of alleged stalking and harassment where a firearm was not involved.

The law is controversial because the burden of proof for obtaining a Final PFA order is far lower than for obtaining a criminal conviction. In fact, many people subject to Final PFA orders are never even charged with a crime.

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

PFA Hearings: Burden Of Proof

We’ve all heard the phrase “burden of proof.” What does it mean?

Burden of proof refers to how convincing the evidence must be to obtain a criminal conviction or Protection From Abuse (PFA) order.

In criminal court, the burden of proof is very high: beyond a reasonable doubt. This means the judge or jury must be 99 percent certain that the defendant committed the crime in order to convict.

In PFA court, the burden of proof is much lower: preponderance of the evidence. This means the judge must be just 51 percent certain that the alleged abuser acted in a way that warrants a Final PFA order.

It is much easier to get a Final Order than a criminal conviction because the burden of proof is so much lower.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, aggressive defense at all PFA and criminal domestic-violence hearings. We routinely handle PFAs and PFA violations, as well as criminal domestic-violence charges such as simple assault, aggravated assault, terroristic threats, harassment, stalking, recklessly endangering another person, endangering the welfare of children, child abuse, and aggravated assault.

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

Child Custody for Dads

Do courts always give Moms custody?

No. Times have changed; the children do not automatically go to Moms after separation. In many cases, judges award shared custody schedules or even award Dads primary physical custody.

Pennsylvania courts decide custody in the best interests of the children by weighing sixteen factors. Among the factors, your judge will consider the level of conflict between you and your ex, the distance between your residences, and your respective work schedules. But gender preference is not among the sixteen factors.

Under Pennsylvania law, Dads have as many rights as Moms to the custody of their children. In Allegheny County, judges commonly award shared custody schedules that provide each parent equal time with the kids.

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

PFA Law: What Is Abuse?

Under Pennsylvania Law, the term “abuse” is defined broadly when determining whether to grant a Protection From Abuse (PFA) order. It does not merely include physical violence.

There are many forms of alleged “abuse” that could justify a PFA, including:

-Physical violence

-Threats of physical violence

-Sexual violence

-Threats of sexual violence

Harassment

-Stalking

-False imprisonment

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, aggressive defense at PFA hearings. We routinely take cases in Pittsburgh and all surrounding counties, including: Allegheny County, Beaver County, Butler County, Fayette County, Indiana County, Mercer County, Washington County, and Westmoreland County.

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

PFAs and Firearms

If you’ve been served with a Temporary PFA or if a Final PFA was entered in your case, you may have just 24 hours to surrender your guns, weapons, ammunition, and firearms license to your local sheriff’s office.

Ignoring a court order to relinquish your guns could result in up to 10 years imprisonment under federal law.

In some cases, PFA defendants could instead give their guns to a friend or family member for safekeeping, so long as the third party signed an Affidavit of Accountability with the sheriff’s office and underwent a criminal background check.

But a new Pennsylvania law prohibits the third-party safekeeping option for gun owners accused of domestic abuse.

Spivak Law Firm advises PFA defendants on how to protect their Second Amendment right to possess firearms. We provide strong, aggressive representation at PFA hearings. For more information, call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.