Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

Based in Pittsburgh, PA

412-344-4900

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Pittsburgh Child Custody Lawyers

Grandparents Have Child-Custody Rights

Under Pennsylvania law, grandparents for years have held a special status that allows them to seek custody of a grandchild even against the parents’ wishes.

A new law that went into effect last summer intended to clarify the specific situations under which grandparents may pursue partial physical or supervised custody of a grandchild.

For instance, a grandparent may seek custody so long as the relationship with the child began either with the consent of a parent of the child or under a court order and the parents of the child have been separated for at least six months.

Alternatively, the new law invests custody rights in grandparents even the parents oppose it in cases when the parents are going through a divorce.

Spivak Law Firm handles all child custody and support matters, including: custody trials, custody conciliations, drafting custody orders, custody relocation, father’s rights, mother’s rights, and grandparents’ rights.

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

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.

Effective Parenting

The most effective parents are authoritative, according to the recently published book “Love, Money and Parenting.”

Authoritative parents use reasoning to persuade kids to do things that are good for them.

Instead of strict obedience, they emphasize adaptability, problem-solving and independence.

The book distinguishes authoritative parents from authoritarian parents – defined, by contrast, as issuing directives, expecting obedience from their children, and using corporal punishment to instill fear and inflict punishment.

Kids raised by authoritative parents report better health, higher self-esteem, and are less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol, according to the authors.

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of family law 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.

Common Divorce Myths

When it comes to divorce, many common beliefs are accepted as truths. However, the process of divorce is complex and every case is unique.

Here are some of the most common divorce myths and why they aren’t always true:

  1. Mom always gets custody: In Pennsylvania, the law does not favor either parent for custody. The judge is required to look at what is in the child’s best interest.
  2. Only women get alimony: Historically, women have been awarded spousal support or alimony more often than men. As more women enter the workplace and change gender roles, it is becoming more common for men to receive some form of alimony. Alimony is generally awarded to the lower earning spouse when there is a significant disparity in incomes.
  3. I don’t need a divorce lawyer: Even if you are on good enough terms with your spouse going into the divorce, you need to make sure you have someone in your corner who is going to ensure your rights are protected.

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of family law, 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.

Enforcing Divorce Agreements

You may avoid mediation, court hearings, and costly attorney fees by simply negotiating a Marriage Settlement Agreement with your ex.

At the time you finalize the divorce, you may ask the court to merge the Agreement into the final divorce decree. The Agreement becomes a contract between you and your ex. If your ex violates its terms, you may remedy the violation by seeking damages.

Keep in mind that it is easier to address violations of the Agreement if it has been incorporated into the final decree. When incorporated, it becomes an official court order that may be enforced through contempt powers of the court.

Spivak Law Firm routinely handles divorce, equitable distribution, and drafting Marriage Settlement Agreements. Call us 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 and Marital Assets

Q: I think that my spouse is hiding marital assets – what should I do?

A: If you suspect that your spouse is hiding or misrepresenting the value of marital assets, your divorce attorney can investigate by initiating a formal discovery process.

Divorcing spouses are required to exchange documentation proving the value of marital assets, the amount of marital debt, and the incomes of both spouses. The discovery process compels the spouse to release all relevant documentation regarding marital assets, debts, and income.

Although discovery can be time-consuming, it is sometimes necessary to uncover a spouse’s hidden assets.

Spivak Law Firm provides experienced counsel to help you navigate the divorce process in a way that protects your interests. To schedule a consultation, 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.

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.

Divorce: Who Gets To Stay In The House?

Despite the fact that you and your spouse have decided to divorce, both of you equally share in the right to occupy the jointly owned residence. Living together while separated can be difficult. But know that you have options.

If you or your children are subject to violence or threats of violence by your ex, you may seek a Protection from Abuse (PFA) Order, which will immediately evict your ex from the residence.

If there is no abuse present, but living together is unbearable, you may petition the court for exclusive possession of the marital residence. The court may award you temporary possession of the marital residence pending final distribution of all marital property.

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.