Mt. Lebanon Family Law Attorney
Attorney Todd Spivak recently participated on a panel at Duquesne University School of Law to advocate reforming Pennsylvania’s Protection From Abuse (PFA) laws.
A PFA, also commonly known as a restraining order, is a powerful tool that can evict you from your home, restrict you from your children, and prohibit you from possessing firearms.
Attorney Spivak has long advocated for reforming the PFA law to curb false claims of abuse. Proposals for reform include as follows:
- Courts should make it easier to allow defendants to recover attorney fees when a PFA is withdrawn or dismissed.
- District attorneys should criminally prosecute serial filers of bogus PFAs.
- Temporary PFAs should be removed from the public database when a PFA is later withdrawn or dismissed.
Other panelists included Allegheny Court of Common Pleas Judge Kim D. Eaton and Attorney Tom Putinsky, winner of the Edgar G. O’Connor Fellows Award for outstanding public service.
Spivak Law Firm provides strong representation at PFA hearings for plaintiffs and defendants. To speak with an experienced PFA attorney, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.
The following is the third of three excerpts from a recent column by Nancy Eshelman of the Patriot-News in Central Pennsylvania. Ms. Eshelman’s husband was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in a domestic violence related incident.
“For a domestic violence victim, the feeling of vulnerability increases after she makes the break. She knows he is angry and she waits for him to show it.
Walking to the mail box, taking out the trash, working in the yard become terrifying. The prospect of unloading groceries from her trunk causes her to sweat.
She drives everywhere with one eye in the rear view mirror and her car doors locked. She never exits the car without her house keys in her hand.
She burns too many lights. She looks out the windows. She wonders if she frantically dials 911 how long a response would take. She asks herself repeatedly which direction she would run if she saw him approaching.
The terror is constant. It takes a toll, physically and mentally.
And for too many women, the threat becomes all too real.”
Spivak Law Firm provides strong, compassionate representation in PFA and criminal domestic-violence cases. For a free consultation, call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.
- Non-threatening communication is most effective: People feel accused and respond defensively when they are attacked verbally with the work “You.” Avoid beginning your sentences with “You” and try to use “I” or “We” whenever possible. Using “I” and “We” reflects feelings or attitudes about something and does not evoke a defensive response.
- Limit communications to child-related issues: Pay attention to your non-verbal communications. More than half of communication is conveyed through facial expressions and almost 40 percent through the tone of your voice.
- Try to decide ahead of time that you will not engage or participate in destructive communication: This is extremely difficult and may even seem a bit strained at first. Remember: It is your choice to stay in control. Problems cannot be resolved unless communication works constructively in the family partnership.
- Pay attention and avoid parallel communication: Have you ever started a sentence and realized that the other person was not listening, but rather looking as if he or she was preparing to respond? Suddenly, the person begins talking and you continue trying to finish your part of the conversation. Both of you continue to communicate in a parallel manner, no one is heard and nothing is resolved. Parallel lines never come together and nothing ever changes with parallel communication.
- Learn to listen to the other party: How we communicate and learn to negotiate our differences is the number one issue in the success or failure of any relationship – business, personal, or otherwise. Good communication gives us a means to express our thoughts, feelings, needs, and concerns. As human beings, we all want to know that someone is listening to us while we are talking. Effective listening validates the words of the communicator. When you know that people are listening to you, most likely you will want to make a conscious effort to listen to them.
Spivak Law Firm provides strong, compassionate representation in all family law matters, including: divorce, child custody, child support, spousal support, and Protection From Abuse (PFA). To speak with an experienced family law attorney, call (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.
Domestic violence knows no boundaries. It happens to young and old, rich and poor, black and white. It affects high-school dropouts and highly educated professionals.
Every day in Allegheny County, dozens of people arrive in family court for a Protection From Abuse (PFA) hearing. Last month, a well-respected Pittsburgh attorney sought protection against a successful entrepreneur.
Allegheny County Assistant District Attorney Lisa Pellegrini obtained a Temporary PFA against her former boyfriend, local restaurateur Ray Burg, for allegedly slamming her head against a car dashboard. Criminal charges are pending against Burg, owner of Burg’s In The Burgh, located on Forbes Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh.
Spivak Law Firm provides strong, aggressive representation for plaintiffs and defendants in PFA hearings. To speak with an experienced PFA lawyer, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.
In most cases, Judges will allow at least one continuance in a Protection From Abuse (PFA) matter.
PFA hearings are generally scheduled within 10 days. The defendant in a PFA case should have no problem getting a continuance if he or she has not been timely served or needs additional time to retain an attorney.
Parties may be surprised when a Court won’t grant a continuance of a PFA hearing. Continuances are generally only granted for good cause. The plaintiff may not be entitled to a continued hearing date if the defendant is present and wants to go forward.
To speak with an experienced Pittsburgh PFA lawyer, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.
Divorce can be an awakening for parents that results in them actually becoming better parents and taking more active roles in the children’s lives. If you were the main caregiver before divorce and did most of the work, wondering why your ex couldn’t take a greater parental role, his or her turnaround after the divorce can be frustrating.
But while it may be upsetting at first, ultimately you should come to realize that it is better for your children to have both parents involved in their lives. It may also make things easier for you if you find that you can share responsibilities such as driving the children to their friends’ homes, program, and other events.
To speak with an experienced Pittsburgh family law attorney, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.
Getting a handle on your financial situation is key when going through a divorce. Organizing your finances can be difficult if you were not the one responsible for them during your marriage. If possible, try to become more financially aware before you separate:
- Get more involved in your finances. Know the basics – pay the bills and file the statements. Learn how your daily and monthly expenses are managed.
- Determine where the money is coming from and how it is applied toward your budget.
- Take part in setting up investments such as retirement funds, and understand where and what the other assets are.
To speak with an Allegheny County family law attorney, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.
Is divorce bad for children? “Yes, obviously,” may be your knee-jerk response, but a recent article in Scientific American points to studies showing that in the long run divorce adversely affects only a small percentage of kids.
There are many conflicting studies about the long-term consequences of divorce on children. According to University of California professor Judith Wallerstein, most adults who were children of divorce experience depression and relationship issues. But research by University of Virginia professor E. Mavis Hetherington shows that only 15 percent of adult children of divorce experience greater problems than those from stable families.
There seems to be a consensus, however, that many children experience short-term negative effects from divorce, such as anger and anxiety. According to Hetherington’s study, such effects typically diminish or disappear by the second year post-divorce.
At Spivak Law Firm, we believe strongly in protecting children through the divorce process. We handle many high-conflict divorces with issues of child custody, child support, and protection from abuse (PFA). To speak with a Pittsburgh family law attorney, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.