Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

Based in Pittsburgh, PA

412-344-4900

Spivak Law Firm is BBB Accredited

Mt. Lebanon Family Lawyer

Shared Custody In Pennsylvania

In the past, divorce decrees offered children visits with their father every other weekend. But these visits were hardly enough to foster a father-child relationship.

Children who spend at least 35 percent of their time with each parent, rather than live with one and visit the other, have better relationships with their parents and do better academically, socially, and psychologically, according to more than 50 studies of joint physical custody.

Under Pennsylvania law, mothers and fathers may pursue shared custody schedules that allow for equal time with their children.

Spivak Law Firm helps parents assert their child-custody rights in Pittsburgh and all surrounding counties, including: Allegheny County, Beaver County, Butler County, Washington County, and Westmoreland County.

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

Helping Kids With Stress

The standard response for problem children is to punish them. However, new studies show that making sure everyone in the school community understands the effects of trauma on children can help reduce their damaging effects.

Children who lack adequate protection from adults can experience potentially damaging effects. Researchers have learned that highly stressful childhood experiences have far-reaching implications for schools.

With this knowledge, schools can offer children special services that cater to their individual needs.

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of family law with a focus on high-conflict child custody and allegations of domestic abuse. We handle: child custody, child support, divorce, spousal 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.

Child Custody: Sharing Time

In the past, sole custody was usually given to the mother because of society’s ideas about gender roles. However, in today’s world, with the image of the mother as primary caregiver changing as more fathers take on active roles in child-raising, other kinds of custody arrangements have emerged.

To date, more than 25 states have introduced bills advocating for shared parenting over sole custody.

Proponents of shared parenting argue that it allows children to spend as close to equal time as possible with both parents without placing an overwhelming burden on the mother or alienating the father.

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 child-custody attorney, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Parental Alienation

A common issue in custody battles is when a parent intentionally attempts to alienate the children from the other parent. Trying to prove the alienation can be difficult and many judges are reluctant to allow children to testify in court.

Experts recognize the tragic impact serious alienation has on children, as the children may go on to have psychiatric disorders, failed relationships, and dysfunctional lives.

Spivak Law Firm helps parents assert their child-custody rights in Pittsburgh and all surrounding counties, including: Allegheny County, Beaver County, Butler County, Washington County, and Westmoreland County.

Protect Kids From Trauma

 

Researchers have found that exposure to psychological abuse between parents is associated with more damage to the wellbeing of children as they get older than physical domestic abuse.

Social support has been found to be vital for recovery from traumatic events in childhood. However, this research reveals that exposure to high levels of psychological domestic abuse may be associated with a decrease in young people’s satisfaction with the social support they receive.

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.

Consequences for Violating A Custody Order

You should not withhold your children from the other parent unless there is a true emergency. Instead, you may file a custody action and obtain an enforceable order of court.

An order of court establishing custody or visitation rights may always be modified for the best interests and welfare of the children.

Failure to comply with an order of court by withholding your children from the other parent could result in a contempt action. Sanctions against you may include makeup time for the other parent and paying their attorney fees.

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

Pittsburgh Dad Wins Sole Custody of Child

126998623What should you do if somebody kidnaps your child? Call the police, right? But what if the police won’t help? This was Reggie’s dilemma when he recently called Spivak Law Firm seeking help.

Reggie and Arlene (not their real names) had a son but were never married. They never bothered to get a custody order because they figured they did not need one.

Both parents were very involved in their child’s life. They lived close to one another in the same school district just outside Pittsburgh. The child had his own room at each of their residences. Reggie coached his son’s sports teams. “We never had any problems sharing our son,” says Reggie.

But then Arlene died suddenly from cancer. Arlene’s sister (the child’s aunt) one day took the child and refused to give him back. Reggie called the aunt repeatedly but she would not take his calls.

So Reggie went to the police. But they refused to get involved in a child custody matter. Then Reggie went to his local magistrate who also refused to help but advised him to get an attorney.

Reggie was emotionally distraught when he arrived at our offices carrying a copy of his son’s birth certificate. A family member had effectively kidnapped his child and it seemed nobody would help him.

Spivak Law Firm promptly filed an Emergency Motion for Special Relief at the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas – Family Division. Our petition explained the situation. We sought a Court Order giving Reggie sole custody of his child and the immediate return of the boy to his father with the help of police.

The next day, the judge granted our request and signed the Court Order.

Leaving the courthouse, Reggie looked at his attorney with tears in his eyes. “Thank you, thank you, thank you,” he whispered. Then he ran to claim his child.

At Spivak Law Firm, we provide strong, compassionate representation in child custody matters. To speak with an experienced child custody lawyer, call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Grandparent Custody Rights in Pennsylvania

144806853In Pennsylvania, a grandparent may seek custody rights over a grandchild under one of the following three scenarios:

  • Scenario #1: The grandparent has acted as a parent to the child and taken on the responsibilities of parenthood for a period of time. This is known as acting in loco parentis – or acting “in the place of a parent.”
  • Scenario #2: A grandparent who has not acted in loco parentis still may seek custody of the child if:
    • A parent of the child allowed the grandparent to form a relationship with the child; and
    • The grandparent is willing to take responsibility for the child; and
    • One of the following circumstances exists:
      • The child is deemed “dependent” under Pennsylvania’s child abuse and neglect law; or
      • The child is deemed substantially at risk due to parental abuse, neglect, drug or alcohol use, or incapacity; or
      • The child has lived with the grandparent for at least 12 consecutive months (not counting brief absences) and is removed from the home by the parents.
  • Scenario #3: A grandparent may seek partial physical custody or supervised physical custody in the following situations:
    • The parent of the child has died; or
    • The parents of the child have been separated for at least six months or have started divorce proceedings; or
    • The child has lived with the grandparent for at least 12 consecutive months (not counting brief absences) and is removed from the home by the parents.

To learn more about grandparent custody rights in Pennsylvania, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.