Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

Based in Pittsburgh, PA

412-344-4900

Spivak Law Firm is BBB Accredited

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Domestic Violence: Victim Blaming

Criminal domestic violence court can be a site of victim blaming, but not just by alleged abusers. Spivak Law Firm advocates educating judges overseeing cases of domestic violence to avoid using victim-blaming language.

Victim advocates recommend instructing judges to use language that more appropriately describes the effects of domestic violence and holds abusers responsible.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, aggressive representation for plaintiffs and defendants at Protection from Abuse (PFA) and criminal domestic violence hearings. We routinely volunteer with Neighborhood Legal Services Association to help victims of domestic violence obtain protection orders from their abusers.

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

What If A Person Lies To Get A PFA?

At Spivak Law Firm, we provide strong, aggressive defense at Protection From Abuse (PFA) hearings in Pittsburgh and all surrounding counties, including: Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Indiana, Mercer, Washington, and Westmoreland.

Our clients often ask us if the alleged victim will face any consequences for lying or exaggerating to the court in order to obtain the Temporary PFA order.

Unfortunately, in our experience, the answer is: no.

People falsely accused of abuse may file a complaint with the police, but the district attorney’s office is unlikely to prosecute for fear of having a chilling effect on other people seeking protection.

Even in extreme circumstances, district attorney’s offices rarely prosecute plaintiffs who have filed repeated PFA petitions in multiple counties with outrageous, unsubstantiated accusations that are later dismissed.

It is commonly known that some people abuse the PFA system in order to gain leverage in a divorce or child custody action.

At Spivak Law Firm, we handle all family law and criminal defense matters, including: PFA defense, criminal domestic violence defense, divorce, child custody, child support, and criminal record expungements.

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

Prepare for Your PFA Hearing

 

PFA Pic1If a Protection from Abuse Order (PFA) has been filed against you, it is important to begin preparing your defense as soon as possible. The person who filed against you will be prepared to testify and present evidence, so it is important that you present testimony and evidence to rebut the accusations against you.

Preserve text messages, emails, voicemails, and audio recordings that tend to support your version of events. If you have witnesses who were present at the time of the incident, it is important that they appear at the hearing to support your position.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, aggressive defense at PFA hearings in Pittsburgh and all nearby counties, including: Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Indiana, Washington, and Westmoreland.

If you’ve been served with a PFA order, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

PFA and Criminal Charges

 

PFA Pic1If you’ve been accused of perpetrating domestic violence or child abuse, you may be facing a Protection From Abuse (PFA) Order and criminal charges such as assault, harassment, stalking, or terroristic threats.

At Spivak Law Firm, we generally advise our clients to continue the PFA hearing until after the criminal case is resolved. The district attorney could use the PFA hearing transcript against you in criminal court.

Based in Pittsburgh, Spivak Law Firm provides strong, aggressive representation for clients in Allegheny County, Beaver County, Butler County, Fayette County, Indiana County, Greene County, Washington County, and Westmoreland County.

If you face a PFA or criminal domestic-violence charges, call Spivak Law Firm to schedule a free consultation at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Attorney Spivak Honored By Super Lawyers

 

TS - 0072-2_crop _greyTodd Spivak, attorney and owner of Spivak Law Firm, has been selected to the 2017 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers list.

Super Lawyers reserves this honor “for those lawyers who exhibit excellence in practice.”

Only 5 percent of attorneys in Pennsylvania receive this distinction.

Attorney Spivak will be featured in Super Lawyers Magazine, Pittsburgh Magazine, and Philadelphia Magazine, reaching more than one million readers.

A former investigative reporter, Attorney Spivak has won numerous national awards and was twice-nominated for The Pulitzer Prize.

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Attorney Spivak focuses his practice on all areas of family law and criminal defense with a special focus on Protection From Abuse (PFA) and child custody.

To schedule a free consultation, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Child Custody & Domestic Abuse

 

DV Pic5In some extreme cases, mothers seeking to protect their children from abusive fathers are disbelieved by the courts and even sanctioned for parental alienation.

Such outlier cases form the basis of a recently released documentary by filmmaker Rachel Lewis, who spotlights the issue of mothers who have lost custody of their children to abusive fathers. The film warns that violent men can use the court system to further control and intimidate their exes by asserting their child custody rights.

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of family law with a special focus on high-conflict child custody and domestic violence. Call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

PFA: Help for Victims

 

pfa-pic2Under current federal law, domestic-violence victims risk eviction from public housing for making excessive calls to 9-1-1.

Spivak Law Firm supports amending the Fair Housing Act to safeguard such victims from being punished for simply seeking police protections.

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, and familial status.

Spivak Law Firm routinely represents plaintiffs and defendants in Protection from Abuse (PFA) matters in Pittsburgh and all surrounding counties, including: Allegheny County, Beaver County, Butler County, Fayette County, Washington County, and Westmoreland County. Call us today at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

PFA Hearings and Constitutional Rights

Sad man sitting head in hands on his bed

A bogus PFA wreaks havoc on a person’s life: it evicts you from your home, restricts you from seeing your kids, and subjects you to possible arrest for the mere accusation of violating the no-contact order.

In Pennsylvania, a Final PFA Hearing generally occurs within 10 days after issuance of the Temporary PFA Order.

A Final PFA Hearing must occur shortly after the Temporary PFA Order gets issued because ex parte orders are limited by the Constitution. The due process clause of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments provide that a person shall not be deprived of liberty or property without adequate notice and an opportunity to be heard.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, aggressive representation at PFA hearings in Pittsburgh and all surrounding counties: Allegheny County, Beaver County, Butler County, Washington County, and Westmoreland County. For a free consultation, call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Despite PFA, Man Guns Down Ex-Girlfriend

Man hitting table with fist, close-up

A Protection From Abuse (PFA) Order is a powerful tool that aims to restrict a perpetrator of domestic violence from having any contact with his victim.

But sometimes a PFA is just a piece of paper.

Earlier this year, 46-year-old business owner Stacey Pennington of central Pennsylvania was shot and killed by her former boyfriend Patrick Derr. She had an active PFA that prohibited him from possessing a firearm.

Four different women got PFAs against Mr. Derr in the last 20 years. Accusations included rape and multiple incidents of choking and strangling.

But none prevented the murder-suicide that occurred this past Labor Day in Mt. Gretna, a small town of just 1,500 people located 40 miles east of Harrisburg.

“She was the sweetest woman in the whole wide world,” said one woman at Ms. Pennington’s memorial.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, compassionate representation for plaintiffs and defendants in PFA hearings. For a free consultation, call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

“I Still Shiver From The Fear”

 

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The following is the second 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.

“The terror is constant. It takes a toll, physically and mentally.

If I think about it, and I try not to, I still shiver from the fear.

Night after night, unable to sleep, convinced that every passing car, every tree branch blowing in the wind is him.

For a victim of domestic violence, peace is elusive, sleep unknown.

I recall rushing home from work and taking a shower because somehow being naked and alone in the bathroom felt less vulnerable in daylight.

The victim longs to feel normal, but normal is no longer part of her existence.

If she’s a mother, she strives to create a semblance of normalcy for her kids. She helps with homework, but can’t concentrate. She attends their activities, but often misses the action.

Instead of watching her son running up and down the basketball court, she’s scanning the stands, terrified she will see that face, the one that haunts her.

As one woman described it, ‘You become like a guerilla warrior – constantly scanning your surroundings, looking over your shoulder, and jumping at every sound.’

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.