Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

Based in Pittsburgh, PA

412-344-4900

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Pgh Family Law

Child Custody For Grandparents

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania recently limited the rights of grandparents to pursue custody of their grandchildren.

Prior to the Court’s decision, grandparents had standing to pursue partial physical or supervised custody if: (a) the parents of the children were separated for a period of at least six months or (b) the parents commenced divorce proceedings.

But the Court struck the parental separation provision from the statute, as it violates parents’ rights under the Due Process Clause. Now a grandparent’s rights to pursue custody could be complicated if the parents of the children never married.

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

In The News: Spivak Law Firm

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has once again featured Spivak Law Firm on issues involving family law and criminal defense.

The P-G recently published Attorneys Need More Protection, written by attorney Todd Spivak, a two-time nominee of The Pulitzer Prize who focuses his practice on child custody and domestic abuse.

The Post-Gazette routinely features Spivak Law Firm, publishing several articles regarding child custody, Protection From Abuse (PFA), and criminal-record expungement laws in Pennsylvania.

In Attorneys Need More Protection, Attorney Spivak discusses the Constitutional basis for vigorously defending people accused of committing heinous crimes.

In Clean The Slate In Pennsylvania, Attorney Spivak and Attorney Rebecca Canterbury critique a new Pennsylvania law that for the first time seals criminal information from public view for people convicted of second- and third-degree misdemeanors.

In Impoverished Parents Deserve Their Day In Court, Attorney Canterbury reveals how exorbitant filing fees in Allegheny County prevent low-income parents from asserting their child-custody rights.

In Crack Down on Domestic Violence in Allegheny County, Attorney Spivak recommends that only specialized judges with extensive domestic-violence training oversee PFA hearings.

In Improve Pennsylvania’s Domestic-Abuse Law, Attorney Spivak exposes the issue of bogus PFA orders and recommends ways to curb abuses in the system.

In Child Custody for Rapists, Attorney Spivak explains how sexual predators use family court to harass and intimidate their victims.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, compassionate, cost-effective representation in all family law and criminal defense matters. To schedule a consultation, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Pittsburgh Media Features Attorney Todd Spivak

Attorney Todd Spivak, owner of Spivak Law Firm, recently published an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about the importance of vigorously defending people accused of committing heinous crimes.

Attorney Spivak, a two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee, practices family law and criminal defense with a special focus on child custody and domestic-violence defense. His article discusses the challenges of handling high-conflict emotional cases involving people with mental illness, substance abuse, and histories of violent behavior.

Spivak Law Firm has represented hundreds of people in Pittsburgh and surrounding counties, including: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Lawrence, Indiana, Mercer, Washington, and Westmoreland. Call us today at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Divorce: Risks For Kids

Research shows that divorce poses serious physical and emotional risks for children that can cause problems well into adulthood. Divorce can be a rough transition for children and it may be wise to enlist the help of a professional.

However, it is not abnormal for children to show signs of stress as they adjust. There are some general clues to look for when trying to decide whether your child needs therapy.

If you notice unusual behavior that persists for more than a couple of weeks, it is a sign your child might need help. Other specific symptoms include social withdrawal, increased sleepiness, and persistent mood swings.

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of family law, including: divorce, child custody, child support, and PFA hearings. To speak with an experienced family law attorney, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

How to Calculate Spousal Support

Family Pic8Q: How do courts calculate spousal support in Pennsylvania?

A: The formula for determining spousal support is as follows:

First, add together the lower-earning spouse’s net monthly income and monthly child support. Then subtract that number from the higher-earning spouse’s net monthly income. Finally, multiply the net difference by 30 percent (or 40 percent if there are no children) to calculate the basic support obligation.

For instance, let’s say you earn $1,200 net monthly income and collect $1,000 per month in child support; and let’s say your spouse earns $5,000 net monthly income. According to the formula, you would receive $800 per month in spousal support.

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

How A PFA Affects Your Divorce

Family Pic3When you initiate a divorce, it is important to keep your emotions in check. Divorce can be emotionally draining, but the playing field may quickly uneven when one party obtains a Temporary Protection from Abuse (PFA) Order.

Avoid any form of contact that could be construed as abusive, which includes shouting matches with your ex. Your ex could file a PFA against you after a verbal argument claiming that she fears you.

The PFA can evict you from your home, restrict your child custody rights, require you to pay support, and order you to continue contributing to marital home expenses.

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of family law, including: divorce, child custody, child support, and PFA hearings. To speak with an experienced family law attorney, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Penalties for Not Paying Child Support

Little girl wearing sundress holding flowersIf you are entitled to receive child support, the system in Pennsylvania is set up to garnish wages from the paying spouse and deposit the money directly into your account.

If a parent fails to pay child support, the court may enter a judgment for the total amount of unpaid support, requiring immediate payment in full.

Failure to obey a support order of court could result in sanctions such as attorney’s fees and even imprisonment.

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

Key Factors for Child Custody

Family Pic6Judges consider many factors when determining a child custody schedule. A child’s preference is just one of many factors. As children get older, courts may give greater weight to the child’s preference, though many judges do not want to hear directly from children. After all, it can be traumatizing for a child to choose between parents.

An important factor for determining custody is promoting consistency for the children. Courts generally will not disturb an existing arrangement or move children from their current school if they are doing well. Courts are also reluctant to split siblings between parents.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, compassionate representation in child custody cases. Call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

What Can I Ask For In A PFA?

Expunge Pic7In a Protection From Abuse (PFA) petition, you can ask the judge to:

  • Order the abuser to stop threatening, abusing, harassing or stalking you and your children
  • Have the abuser evicted from your joint home or excluded from your residence
  • Keep your new address or location confidential
  • Grant you temporary custody of your children
  • Grant you temporary child or spousal support as well as other reimbursements of out-of-pocket expenses that were caused by the abuser
  • Order the abuser not to have contact with you or your children, or family members
  • Restrict the abuser from contacting you at school or work
  • Order the abuser to turn over firearms to the sheriff
  • Order any other appropriate relief, for instance, requesting the return of your pet, car keys, important papers, etc.

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

Listening To Your Child

Little girl wearing sundress holding flowersChildren want to talk. Children need to talk, and they also need someone to listen to them.

Think about how you might feel if you wanted to tell something to somebody and you could not find anyone to tell. Children must be able to express themselves freely and comfortably.

As adults, we can provide children with the security of listening to whatever they need to say. Be careful to respect something said in confidence if your child asks you to keep it just between the two of you.

If there are not good “listening times” available during your schedule, try to set aside some “special time” to just talk to your child on a regular, consistent basis.

There is a distinct difference between listening to your children and pumping them for information about the other parent. Enter their world and listen to what they need to talk about as children.

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