Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

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Pgh Custody Attorney

Child Custody: Fast Food v. Organics

custody-pic1You may not like that your ex feeds the kids fast food while you prepare homemade organic meals. But try not to sweat the small stuff. While your ex-‘s household rules may aggravate you, they usually aren’t issues worth bringing to court.

Such disagreements over child custody decisions may exacerbate tensions between you and your ex, making co-parenting more difficult.

Moreover, you want to avoid irritating the judge by arguing over what will likely be deemed as superficial or petty disagreements.

Spivak Law Firm handles all family law matters, including divorce, child custody, child 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.

Child Custody Mediation In Allegheny County

Custody Pic9In Allegheny County, any parent who files for custody of their child must engage in mediation with the other parent, unless there was domestic violence.

Mediation is a structured problem-solving process to make informed decisions through an impartial third party. The mediation program in Allegheny County is based on the belief that parents are the best experts to make decisions about their children.

Parenting agreement decisions reached through mediation work better and last longer than decisions made by someone in the court. The goal of the custody mediation session is to give parents an opportunity to communicate cooperatively toward solutions that will best meet their child’s needs.

The mediator’s role is to remain neutral and to assist both parents in negotiating options that will work for their family. Mediators are accustomed to working with people who feel hurt, frustrated, and often angry. The mediator can assist in refocusing the parents’ issues toward their children and their family.

Mediation is an alternative to the legal process that intends to be empowering, educational, and confidential.

Spivak Law Firm handles all child custody matters. Our attorneys are skilled trial lawyers and effective negotiators trained in mediation. Call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Shared Custody Requires Good Communication

122499577In Allegheny County, it is presumed that parents will share legal custody of their children. Legal custody refers to major decisions involving the child, such as medical, educational, and religious.

Parents who share legal custody are encouraged to engage in unemotional communication when keeping one another informed about their children and making joint decisions about them.

This does not mean that you and the other parent will necessarily agree on issues. It does mean that making such decisions should not interfere with your ability to work together.

Old “hot-buttons” can change the focus of effective communication to destructive, unproductive arguments. Effective communication is not about winning or revenge, but rather a fundamental pathway to working cooperatively together.

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

What If Your Ex Violates the Custody Order?

102719637You have a child custody order, but your ex continually violates it. Maybe your ex withholds the child during your custody time or fails to return the child on time. Or maybe your ex unilaterally makes big decisions about where the child goes to school without receiving your input or consent. What can you do?

When a child custody order is entered, family courts expect both parents to comply with its terms. You may seek to hold a non-compliant parent in contempt of court. If a parent is found to be in contempt for failing to follow the court order, the other parent may be awarded make-up time for the missed visits as well as other sanctions such as payment of attorney fees.

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

Celebrities and Restraining Orders

Musician Jack White has become the latest in a long list of celebrities to receive a restraining order.

White is engaged in an ongoing child custody battle with his ex-wife who has accused him of sending her harassing emails and texts. Best known as the singer and guitarist for the Grammy Award-winning band The White Stripes, White is barred from having any contact with his children until his hearing date, which remains several weeks away.

In Pennsylvania, restraining orders are known as Protection From Abuse (PFA) orders. The PFA law permits alleged victims of domestic violence to obtain a court order secretly without giving any notice to the defendant, who may be evicted from the home and restricted from seeing his or her children until the PFA hearing usually scheduled within ten days.

In recent years, restraining orders have been granted against musicians Chris Brown, M.I.A., and Courtney Love, as well as actors Mel Gibson, Terrence Howard, and Randy Quaid. Numerous athletes have also received restraining orders, particularly NFL players such as Terrell Suggs of the Baltimore Ravens, Randy Moss of the New England Patriots, Shannon Sharpe of the Denver Broncos, Titus Young of the Detroit Lions, and Mike Logan of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

In California, actors and actres
ses commonly use restraining orders to protect themselves against stalkers. Such actors have included: Halle Berry, Sandra Bullock, Justin Timberlake, Ryan Seacrest, Tyra Banks, Audrina Partridge, Alyson Hannigan, Jeff Goldblum, and Eva Mendes.

In Pennsylvania, by contrast, a person cannot receive a PFA order against a stranger. Rather, the PFA law states that any person can get a PFA against a spouse, a live-in boyfriend or girlfriend, a parent, a child, the parent of his or her child, a former sexual or intimate partner, or any family member related by blood or marriage.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong defense at PFA hearings throughout the Greater Pittsburgh Area, including Allegheny County, Beaver County, Butler County, Westmoreland County, and Washington County. To speak with an experienced PFA attorney, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Accused of Abuse?

147285315Spivak Law Firm routinely defends people accused of domestic violence and abuse. We defend people facing Protection From Abuse (PFA) orders and criminal charges such as simple assault, aggravated assault, harassment, stalking, terroristic threats, child abuse, and reckless endangerment. We also help people facing abuse charges assert child custody and visitation rights.

In family court, it is important to understand that credibility is everything. Someone accused of abuse instantly loses sympathy and credibility in the eyes of the court. Only a rapid, fact-based response can prevent a negative stereotype from attaching to you if you’re falsely accused of abuse. If this happens, it often helps to request a custody or psychological evaluation for both parents and the children, which some judges will order to get beneath the surface and thoroughly evaluate the truth, the dynamics of the parties, and their parenting abilities. Ideally you need to be prepared with a fact-based response to these common types of allegations from the start of the case.

If you’ve been accused of abuse, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Want to Pay Less Child Support?

126998623In Pennsylvania, child support and child custody are inextricably linked. The amount of child support you owe is directly tied to the amount of time you spend with your child.

A parent who pays child support will receive a 10 percent reduction in the amount of support owed at 40 percent parenting time, increasing incrementally to a 20 percent reduction at 50 percent parenting time, according to state law.

Parenting time is based on the number of overnights the child spends with the parent who pays child support.

Courts are reluctant to grant a parent more custodial time merely in order to reduce child support payments. But such practical considerations must be part of the conversation between you and your family law attorney.

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

Domestic Violence Can Happen to Anyone

Restraining orders and domestic violence can happen to anyone – even the very rich and famous.

Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry will appear in court this week in a domestic violence case that has received international attention.

This past Thanksgiving, Berry’s fiancé got into a brutal fight with Berry’s ex-boyfriend that left both men with serious injuries. Each man filed a restraining order against the other.

The incident occurred in Berry’s driveway while her 4-year-old daughter was inside the house.

In Pennsylvania, a restraining order is known as a PFA, or Protection From Abuse order, which restricts contact between the parties and can be used to gain leverage in child custody matters.

In Berry’s case, the restraining orders could affect her child custody case. Last month, a judge denied Berry’s request to move with her fiancé to France because her ex-boyfriend shares custody of the child.

In Pennsylvania, a person cannot relocate with a child unless every person with custody rights to the child consents or the court approves the relocation.

Berry, like many of our clients throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania, will spend much of this holiday season in court battling over child custody, restraining orders, and criminal charges arising out of the domestic violence incident from Thanksgiving.

Spivak Law Firm handles all domestic violence matters, including PFA restraining orders, criminal charges, and child custody matters. To schedule an appointment, call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.