Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

Based in Pittsburgh, PA

412-344-4900

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Mt. Lebanon Family Law

Child Custody and Step-Parents

 

Custody Pic5Moving forward as a family after divorce or separation can be more difficult when step-parents are involved. To avoid conflict between your ex-spouse and the step-parent of your children, consider the following three tips:

  • Talk to the children together as a family, assuring them that their step-parent is not a replacement, but another person to care for them.
  • Set boundaries ahead of time, and discuss the role step-parents will play in the lives of the children.
  • Work together as a cohesive family unit; do not argue over the role of the step-parent in front of the children.

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of family law, including: child custody, child support, divorce, spousal 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.

Divorce May Result in Multiple Trials

ConflictIn Allegheny County, every aspect of a divorce is handled separately through the courts.

A divorce commonly includes the following issues: child custody, child support, spousal support, dividing marital assets and debts, and the divorce itself.

There is not just one trial that resolves all these issues.

Instead, each issue is placed on a separate trial track. This means you may face multiple trials or hearings: one to address child support, another to resolve child custody, and still another to determine how to divide assets and debts.

Spivak Law Firm handles all family law matters, including: divorce, child custody, child support, spousal support, and Protection From Abuse (PFA). Call us today at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Child Custody and Child Support

Beautiful baby of three months old in his mothers hands.Contrary to popular belief, parents retain custody rights to their children even if they fail to pay court-ordered child support. Child custody and child support are two separate legal issues.

Just because you do not receive child support does not mean that you can refuse custodial access to the children. If you have a custody order, and you refuse to abide by its terms, you may be held in contempt for violating a court order, which carries the following potential consequences:

  • Up to six months in jail;
  • A fine up to $500;
  • Probation for up to six months;
  • Suspension of your driver’s license; and
  • Payment of the other parent’s attorney’s fees.

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

Parenting Plans for Teens

Family Pic6Teenage children are often more adaptable to custody schedules because they can better balance differences in household routines. As long as the parenting plan allows the children to see both parents on a frequent and continued basis, the schedule can be flexible. When making a parenting plan for your teenagers, consider the following:

  • Permit the children to call the other parent in privacy;
  • Respect the well-reasoned preferences of the children;
  • Accommodate the children’s school activities and extracurricular activities;
  • Consider the social needs of the children.

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

Child Custody and Social Media

Custody Pic3Everyone has a friend or follower on social media known as the “over-sharer” who posts private information for everyone to see.

If you’re engaged in a child custody dispute, avoid being the “over-sharer.” Think twice about whether or not your next status update could negatively affect your case. What was once a venting session could become evidence that your ex-spouse’s attorney uses against you in Court. The same holds true with emails and texts.

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

Pennsylvania Child Custody Laws

dandelion wishing blowing seedsPeople commonly believe that courts favor mothers over fathers when determining child custody schedules. But Pennsylvania law does not give special preference to mothers over fathers.

In fact, many judges today believe that the ideal custody arrangement provides for an equally shared schedule in order to maximize the child’s time with both parents. The results in any child-custody dispute depend on the particular facts and circumstances of the case.

At Spivak Law Firm, we handle all child-custody matters, including: trials, conciliations, relocation hearings, and contempt actions. Call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Are PFA Hearings Fair?

BU010665If you’re a victim of domestic abuse, you can get a Temporary Protection From Abuse (PFA) Order against your abuser simply by telling your situation to a judge at an ex parte hearing. The alleged abuser receives no notice and may not attend the hearing.

Is this fair?

For true victims of domestic abuse, an ex parte hearing is often necessary to escape a violent relationship. But it is commonly known among family law professionals that many people abuse the PFA system just to gain leverage in child custody and divorce.

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

Divorce: Living Separately Under One Roof

ConflictGiven today’s economic realities, it is not at all uncommon for married couples to continue living together even after separating and heading toward divorce.

After all, many families struggle to keep up with their expenses in one household. Taking on a second mortgage or another monthly rental payment may not be an option.

Even if the parties still live together, it is possible to establish a date of separation for purposes of divorce so long as the parties:

  • Separate bank accounts. The parties should separate their finances by opening individual bank accounts.
  • Abstain from marital sex. The parties should no longer share a bedroom or bed.
  • Do not hold themselves out as married. The parties should refrain from describing themselves as a married couple to others in the community.

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.

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.

PFA Hearings and Constitutional Rights

Sad man sitting head in hands on his bed

A bogus PFA wreaks havoc on a person’s life: it evicts you from your home, restricts you from seeing your kids, and subjects you to possible arrest for the mere accusation of violating the no-contact order.

In Pennsylvania, a Final PFA Hearing generally occurs within 10 days after issuance of the Temporary PFA Order.

A Final PFA Hearing must occur shortly after the Temporary PFA Order gets issued because ex parte orders are limited by the Constitution. The due process clause of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments provide that a person shall not be deprived of liberty or property without adequate notice and an opportunity to be heard.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, aggressive representation at PFA hearings in Pittsburgh and all surrounding counties: Allegheny County, Beaver County, Butler County, Washington County, and Westmoreland County. For a free consultation, call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.