Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

Based in Pittsburgh, PA

412-344-4900

Spivak Law Firm is BBB Accredited

Pgh PFA Lawyer

Factors for Creating a Child Custody Schedule

You and your ex are best positioned to create a child custody schedule, particularly because you know what will be in your child’s best interests. The following factors are important to consider when creating a custody schedule:

  • The age of the child;
  • Medical, educational, and social needs of the child;
  • Sibling relationships;
  • The child’s school schedule;
  • The child’s extracurricular activity schedule;
  • Your work schedule;
  • Your ex-spouse’s work schedule;
  • The distance for exchanges;
  • Your ability to communicate effectively with your ex-spouse.

Even though you may agree on a schedule with your ex, it is critical that you fully understand your rights before entering into a custody agreement. It’s possible that you are agreeing to a schedule that will substantially restrict your rights as a parent.

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

Alimony and Tax Benefits in Pennsylvania

Alimony represents the payments a higher-earning spouse makes to a lower-earning spouse after their divorce has been finalized.

Historically, the spouse making the payments could deduct alimony on his or her taxes. The spouse receiving the payments had to include the income for tax purposes. Thus, the paying spouse received a tax benefit.

Under the new law, which takes effect on January 1, 2019, alimony payments will no longer be deductible for the payor nor taxable for the receipient. Thus the spouse receiving the alimony payments will also get the tax benefit.

If you are considering a divorce, it may benefit you to wait for the new tax law to take effect or to finalize your divorce in advance.

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of family law, including: divorce, child custody, child support, spousal support, alimony, division of assets and debts, and Protection From Abuse (PFA). To schedule an appointment, call (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Underage Drinking and Driver’s License Suspension

Underage drinking is a criminal offense in Pennsylvania punishable by up to three months in jail.

The legal age for buying, drinking, possessing or transporting alcohol in Pennsylvania is 21-years-old.

The mere attempt to purchase alcohol may result in a summary offense if you’re underage.

Additionally, the Department of Transportation may suspend the defendant’s driver’s license even if there was no car involved.

A first conviction will result in a 30-day suspension of driving privileges; a second conviction will result in a 1-year suspension; and any additional convictions will result in a 2-year suspension.

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

Divorce: Tips For Protecting Your Kids

Divorce can be emotionally painful and traumatizing, especially for children.

Here are tips for protecting your kids as you go through divorce:

  • When you break the news to your children, be prepared to comfort and reassure them.
  • Encourage your children to be honest with their thoughts and feelings.
  • Provide consistency and routine for your children to avoid major disruptions in their school and social life.
  • Try to avoid major changes and transitions so your children have time to adjust.

Spivak Law Firm handles all family law matters, including: divorce, child custody, child support, spousal support, Protection From Abuse (PFA), and Children Youth and Families (CYF). To speak with an experienced Pittsburgh family law attorney, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

PFA Hearings: Credibility Is Key

If you’ve been served with a Temporary Protection From Abuse (PFA) order, there may be a formal hearing. A Court of Common Pleas judge will hear all the evidence and determine whether to grant a Final PFA order, which can remain in effect for up to three years.

Many cases are “he-said, she said.” In other words, there is no clear, definitive evidence to show whether the alleged abuse occurred. The judge must closely observe the accuser and the alleged perpetrator of abuse to determine who appears more credible.

At Spivak Law Firm, we carefully prepare our clients so they have the best opportunity for success at their PFA hearing. We have helped hundreds of plaintiffs and defendants in PFA matters.

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

Pennsylvania Expands Child Custody Laws

Pennsylvania has enacted a new law that expands the right of third parties to seek custody of a child.

Current law restricts custody actions to parents and grandparents. Under the new law, which will take effect in July 2018, any individual may seek custody of a child so long as it is shown by clear and convincing evidence that:

  • The individual assumed or is willing to assume responsibility for the child;
  • The individual has a sustained, substantial and sincere interest in the welfare of the child;
  • Neither parent has any form of care or control of the child.

The change in the law is expected to open the door to many new custody complaints by people who may not be physically related to the child but played a significant role in their upbringing and development.

Spivak Law Firm handles all area of family law with a special focus on child custody. To schedule a consultation with an experienced child-custody lawyer, call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

3 Types of PFA Orders In Pennsylvania

Under Pennsylvania law, there are three kinds of Protection From Abuse (PFA) Orders that may be issued:

Emergency PFA: A magistrate may order an Emergency PFA at times when a Court of Common Pleas judge is not available, such as at night, on weekends, and during holidays. An Emergency PFA expires automatically at the close of the next business day. Therefore, if you get an Emergency PFA on Friday night, it will remain in effect until Monday at 5:00 p.m. so long as Monday is not a holiday.

Temporary PFA: A Court of Common Pleas judge may order a Temporary PFA based on an accuser’s sworn testimony of abuse. Pennsylvania law requires that a Final PFA hearing be scheduled within 10 days after the Temporary PFA is granted.

Final PFA: A Court of Common Pleas judge may order a Final PFA after a hearing. In some cases, defendants will consent to a Final PFA without need for a hearing. A Final PFA may last up to three years.

Spivak Law Firm has successfully represented hundreds of plaintiffs and defendants in PFA matters. For more information, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Child Custody and Positive Messaging

How can we get children to be honest?

This question takes on even more importance when a child’s safety depends on knowing the truth, as in criminal cases involving child abuse.

Harsh punishments like spanking do not deter children from lying, according to recent scientific studies.

Positive messaging is the key to fostering honest behavior. Experts recommend emphasizing the benefits of honesty.

For instance, witnessing others receiving praise for honesty promotes honest behavior. Studies have also shown that children are less likely to lie after promising to tell the truth.

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of family law and criminal defense with a special focus on child custody and domestic abuse. To schedule a consultation, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Attorney Spivak Featured On New PFA Law

Attorney Todd Spivak, owner of Spivak Law Firm, was featured in a recent news article regarding changes to the Protection From Abuse (PFA) law in Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania General Assembly recently passed a bill requiring people with Final PFA orders to surrender their firearms within 24 hours to law enforcement.

In the article, Attorney Spivak is described as a proponent for reforming the PFA law to curb false claims of abuse.

A PFA has serious consequences. It can take away:

  • Your home: You may be permanently evicted from your residence.
  • Your kids: You may lose custody of your children for an extended period of time.
  • Your job: You may be terminated from your job, especially if you’re a police officer, teacher, daycare worker, or anyone subject to background checks.
  • Your rights: You may lose your Constitutional right to possess firearms.
  • Your freedom: You may be jailed and face criminal charges for allegedly violating any provision of an active PFA.

“If someone is willing to lie or exaggerate or fabricate on a PFA petition, what’s to stop them from lying about a violation of the order,” Attorney Spivak says in the article. “Defendants can have their lives turned upside down.”

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, aggressive defense in all PFA and criminal domestic-violence matters. Based in Pittsburgh, we routinely represent clients in Allegheny County, Beaver County, Butler County, Fayette County, Indiana County, Mercer County, Washington County, and Westmoreland County.

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

PFA Hearings: What If There’s No Evidence?

Many people mistakenly believe that a Final Protection From Abuse (PFA) order won’t be granted unless there is definitive evidence of abuse.

This is simply not true.

Most cases of alleged domestic violence cannot be proved definitively. There may not be any eyewitnesses, medical records, photographs of injuries, or written correspondence to prove that abuse occurred.

But a judge may still order the Final PFA based on the credible testimony of the alleged victim. In other words, judges rely mainly on what the accuser says under oath when determining whether to grant a Final PFA.

If you have been served with a Temporary PFA, you are at great risk of a Final PFA unless you obtain effective legal representation.

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