Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

Based in Pittsburgh, PA

412-344-4900

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Collaborative Divorce: A New Trend

A new Pennsylvania law aims to legitimize collaborative divorce and create a uniform standard of practice.

Collaborative divorce is a relatively new, alternative way for couples to obtain a divorce without need for court intervention.

Collaborative divorce involves a problem-solving approach with interest-based negotiations rather than positional bargaining.

It involves several meetings with two clients, two collaborative lawyers, a facilitative coach who is a mental health professional, a neutral financial professional and a neutral child specialist if needed.

The meetings address all elements of the divorce, including child custody, child and spousal support, and division of the marital assets and debts.

Spivak Law Firm has received specialized training in collaborative divorce with membership in the Collaborative Law Association of Southwestern Pennsylvania. To schedule a consultation, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Divorce: Who Gets The Family Pets?

When undergoing divorce or separation, you are likely worried about child custody, division of your property, and your pets.

You may view your dog or cat as a member of the family, but under Pennsylvania law, they are as much family as your television set. Pets are technically personal property, which means that a court will not order visitation or custody schedules for pets.

Courts will likely classify the pet as marital or non-marital property. If your ex purchased the pet prior to the marriage, the pet will be considered non-marital property and will likely go to your ex.

However, you have the option to bypass formal court proceedings and mediate this issue with your ex to develop an agreement that works for both of you.

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.

Calculating Child Support in Pennsylvania

Little girl wearing sundress holding flowersQ: How do courts calculate child support?

 

A: Courts follow support guidelines created by the Pennsylvania Legislature when determining a child support order. Under Pennsylvania law, both parents must continue to support their children even after a divorce. The obligation generally continues until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever happens last. In determining a child support obligation, courts consider the incomes or earning capacities of both parents. Statewide support guidelines establish a presumptive amount of support with the primary focus placed on income.

Spivak Law Firm handles all family law matters, including: divorce, child custody, child support, spousal support, and PFAs. To schedule a consultation, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

How Courts Divide Property In Divorce

ConflictWho gets the toaster? Who gets the couch? Who gets the car? Who gets the house? At its most basic level, divorce is about people splitting up and figuring how to split up their stuff.

Parties can always bypass the courts and figure this out for themselves with the help of a mediator or collaborative divorce attorney. Spivak Law Firm is certified in mediation and collaborative divorce.

In Pennsylvania, the formal process for dividing property through the courts is equitable distribution. Equitable does not mean equal; it means fair.

A court looks at several factors to determine how to fairly divide the parties’ marital assets and debts. Marital fault does not play any role here. Evidence of adultery or domestic violence does not affect equitable distribution.

According to Pennsylvania law, the court may consider each marital asset independently and apply a different percentage to each marital asset. Some key factors relevant to equitable distribution include:

–The length of the marriage;

–The needs of the parties;

–The income, job skills, and employability of each party;

–The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage;

–The contribution of each party in the acquisition of the marital property, including the contribution of the party as a homemaker; and

–The tax consequences associated with each asset.

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