Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

Based in Pittsburgh, PA

412-344-4900

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Mt. Lebanon 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.

Avoid Stress in Divorce

Family Pic3Divorce doesn’t have to be stressful emotionally or financially.

Litigation tends to increase stress levels for people going through a divorce. But you can get a divorce without ever stepping into a courtroom.

Spivak Law Firm is trained in mediation and collaborative law. We are skilled negotiators who can help spouses reach settlement on all issues, including: child custody; child and spousal support; and dividing assets and debts.

If agreement is reached, we then draft a Marital Settlement Agreement and quickly process the divorce.

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

Understanding Marital Property

Family Pic3Q: I always drove the Toyota and my husband always drove the Ford. Both cars were bought during the marriage, but only my husband’s name is on the titles. Now that we’re getting a divorce, my husband says both cars belong to him. Is he right?

A: No. Under Pennsylvania law, virtually all property acquired by either spouse during the marriage is deemed marital property subject to equitable distribution by the court or through a marital settlement agreement. Thus, it does not matter that the cars are titled only in your husband’s name. The cars are marital property jointly owned by both spouses.

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

What to Expect At Your Child Support Hearing

Custody Pic5In Allegheny County, many people resolve child support issues without need for a hearing. Parties first disclose their income and expenses to a domestic-relations officer usually in a small office or cubicle. The officer will usually run calculations based on state support guidelines established by the Pennsylvania Legislature. The parties then have an opportunity to reach an agreement as to the amount of support, if any. The officer at this first level does not have authority to enter a recommendation.

If the parties do not reach agreement, they will attend a hearing on the same day. The hearing is a mini-trial in which each party is sworn under oath and permitted to testify, introduce evidence, and cross-examine one another. The hearing officer will hear testimony, accept evidence, and issue a recommendation within 30 days. If either party is dissatisfied with the recommendation, he or she may file an appeal known as exceptions to be reviewed by the judge assigned to the case.

For more information, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Key Time Periods for Divorce in Pennsylvania

Empty Pittsburgh BridgeUnder Pennsylvania divorce law, there are three main time periods that parties should consider:

  • Six Months: Before you can file for divorce in Pennsylvania, you or your spouse must have resided in the state for at least six months.
  • 90 Days: If you and your spouse consent to a divorce, you still must wait 90 days before the court will grant a final decree.
  • Two Years: 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 to one year.

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.

4 Reasons to Modify Child Support

child blowing away dandelion seeds in the blue sky

Either parent may seek to modify a child support order at any time. The moving party will need to show a substantial change of circumstances occurred since the final order was entered by the court.

What constitutes a substantial change of circumstances?

Common examples include:

  • One parent gets more custody time
  • One parent gets a significant pay increase
  • One parent gets laid off from work
  • A child seeks to participate in a new extra-curricular activity

Do not voluntarily quit a job to avoid paying child support, as a court can assign an earning capacity based on past income levels.

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

How to Withdraw a PFA in Pennsylvania

83496541In Pennsylvania, a victim of domestic violence can get a Protection From Abuse (PFA) restraining order against the perpetrator lasting as long as three years. The PFA restricts the abuser from having any contact whatsoever with the victim, including contact by phone, email, text, social media, or third persons.

But what if the victim no longer thinks the PFA is necessary? Can the PFA simply be vacated or withdrawn? In many cases, the answer is yes, though counties have their own unique processes for making the PFA go away.

For instance, in some Pennsylvania counties, the victim needs to formally file a motion to vacate the PFA and present it to the court. In other jurisdictions, the victim may simply ask the court’s PFA administrator to fill out a form. In all cases, the victim should be prepared to explain to a judge why the PFA is no longer necessary. If the judge disagrees, the PFA may remain in effect whether the victim likes it or not.

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

Family Law Help in Allegheny County

111787230Not everyone struggling with issues of divorce, child custody and support can afford an attorney. Some simply wish to handle matters themselves.

In Allegheny County, the newly formed Family Division Self-Help Center guides such people through the court system. The center, which opened in January 2014, has already assisted more than 1,500 clients, according to Lawyers Journal, a publication of the Allegheny County Bar Association.

Located on the first floor of the Family Law Center at 440 Ross Street in downtown Pittsburgh, the center is open each weekday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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