Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

Based in Pittsburgh, PA

412-344-4900

Spivak Law Firm is BBB Accredited

Pittsburgh Family Law Firm

Collaborative Divorce Guidelines

The new Pennsylvania Collaborative Law Act provides several guidelines for people seeking to obtain a collaborative divorce, including:

  • Establishing minimum requirements for collaborative practice participation agreements
  • Providing specific standards to determine when and how the collaborative process begins and concludes
  • Requiring the disqualification of collaborative lawyers from appearing before a court to represent a party in a proceeding related to the legal matter identified in the participation agreement
  • Mandating that parties to a collaborative process provide timely, full, candid and informal disclosure of information related to resolution of the legal matter identified in the participation agreement
  • Creating a privilege for communications that occur during the collaborative process and clarifying when the privilege is not applicable or may be waived
  • Protecting the confidentiality of certain communications made during the collaborative process to the extent agreed upon by the parties
  • Providing for the enforceability of settlement agreements reached through the collaborative process

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of family law, including: divorce, child custody, child support, spousal support, division of marital assets, and Protection From Abuse (PFA).

To learn more about collaborative divorce, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Back to School During COVID-19

As the new school year begins, parents with differing views on whether to send their kids to school during COVID-19 are continuing to resolve their legal custody disputes in family court.

Judges face a challenge when balancing parental rights and health.

In Allegheny County, the bar has been set high for judges to change time-sharing schedules even in situations where parents are front-line workers.

Currently there is no FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccination for children under 12. Family law experts anticipate more court disputes involving parents who disagree about whether to inoculate their children against COVID-19 as the vaccines become available for young children.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, compassionate, cost-effective representation in all child custody matters, including: negotiating and drafting custody agreements, enforcing custody orders, and litigating high-conflict custody trials.

Call Spivak Law at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Domestic Abuse: Effects on Kids

Children who witness domestic abuse may struggle in their development and ability to solve problems.

They may feel incompetent.

They sometimes tend to avoid risk.

They often fear abandonment.

Young children will tend to use language for the purpose of keeping others at a distance rather than to convey meaning. They also tend to have difficulty defining cause and effect relationships.

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of family law with a special focus on child custody and domestic violence.

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

Child Custody and Healthy Anxiety

Anxiety is a critical protective mechanism that children begin to develop during their first year of life.

Healthy anxiety warns us when danger might be ahead, and for babies and toddlers, separation anxiety marks a developmental milestone as children begin recognizing that loved ones offer the most safety and protection.

Short, manageable meltdowns that happen right after day care drop-off, at bedtime, or when a parent leaves the room are normal and generally self-limiting.

Those episodes can also happen during periods of transition, such as after moving into a new home or starting a new school.

They typically last only a few minutes and go away entirely after the child has had a few weeks to adjust to the new routine.

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

Child Custody: Strategies to Prevent Meltdowns

Young children may exhibit symptoms of separation anxiety when their parents divorce. Symptoms may include whimpering to be picked up, shrieking if a parent leaves the room, or wailing at bedtime.

Child psychologists recommend the following strategies to prevent or de-escalate meltdowns:

  • Validate their feelings: Acknowledge that you understand why the situation makes them feel scared, and encourage them to practice being brave and trying an activity on their own.
  • Reward quiet acts of bravery: Avoid prolonging goodbyes and paying attention to tantrum. Be sure to reward them for playing alone or going to bed without fuss.
  • Practice routines: If you suspect that your child might struggle with an upcoming event, like starting remote learning, returning to preschool or an overnight visit with family, practicing the routine a few days before can help your child prepare.
  • Provide a transitional object: Give your children something small and personal that reminds them of home – that they can keep in their pocket or cubby and retrieve when they need to feel a connection to loved ones.
  • Relieve your own stress: Anxious parents can exacerbate their children’s anxiety, so take steps to relieve your own stress.

Spivak Law Firm handles all family law matters, including: divorce, child custody, child support, spousal support, alimony, separation of assets and debts, estate planning, 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.

Domestic Abuse and Mass Shootings

Experts say there are striking parallels between the factors that drive domestic violence and mass shootings.

FBI data on mass shootings from 2009 to 2015 show that 21 percent of the attackers had previously been charged with domestic violence.

For instance, Omar Mateen, the gunman in the nightclub massacre in Orlando, Florida, had reportedly beaten and attempted to control his ex-wife during their brief marriage.

“Take the dynamic of coercive violence to its most horrible extreme,” according to an article in The New York Times, “and it looks an awful lot like how the Islamic State treats women. It is intimate violence on an industrial scale.”

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of family law and criminal defense with a special focus on domestic abuse.

Call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

How Does a Retainer Work?

If you are hiring an attorney on retainer, there are two numbers you need to know.

Question #1: How much money will you need to pay upfront?

The lump-sum of money paid upfront represents the retainer itself. A retainer is an acknowledgement by the attorney and the client that the total cost for legal services is unknown. If the case resolves quickly with limited litigation or court appearances, there may be money leftover that is returned to the client. On the other hand, if the case is fully litigated and results in a trial, there may be a need to replenish the retainer when it runs out. The attorney deposits the retainer into an escrow account. At Spivak Law Firm, we routinely accept retainers for divorce and child custody matters. Most family law firms require a retainer in the range of $2,000 – $5,000 depending on the complexities of the case.

Question #2: What is your hourly rate?

An attorney bills against the retainer for legal services rendered. Periodically, clients will receive an invoice detailing all tasks performed on their case and how much time was spent performing each task. The invoice will also reflect how much money remains in the retainer so clients know if there is a need to add to the retainer for upcoming legal work. In Allegheny County, the hourly rate for family law attorneys varies widely from about $200 an hour all the way up to over $400 an hour. A client’s retainer will last longer with a lower hourly rate. At Spivak Law Firm, we aim to preserve our client’s resources by keeping our hourly rates low and frequently discounting our client’s invoices as a professional courtesy.

To learn more about hiring an attorney for your family law matters, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Child Custody: Parenting During COVID-19

Parents of young children may take solace or even find helpful tips or simple wisdom in hearing from others working through the challenges of parenting during the pandemic.

In a recently published letter, Lydia Kiesling relates meltdowns shared with her 6-year-old daughter during the lockdown:

“For months, she and I have found ourselves locked in an awful duet of upset and recrimination. I yell; she yells; we both cry. As March turned into April turned into June – as “you’ll see your friends soon” became “at least there will be kindergarten in the fall” became hopefully it will be safe by first grade” – it grew clear that even the most cosseted children won’t get out of this situation unscathed.”

She praises a seminal book on parenting: How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk, Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish.

The book reminded her that life is flying by:

“I spent so much of the early pandemic days in a holding pattern that I failed to realize that the pandemic had become reality – that our crisis mode urgently needed to be retooled for a longer journey, emotionally as much as logistically. Regardless of how we feel about this period, it is happening, and the days continue to pass.”

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

 

Child Custody and Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is normal and happens as children begin to differentiate between things that are safe and familiar and things that are new and different.

Classic symptoms include clinginess when a parent or caregiver is present, and crying or short tantrums right after the person leaves the room or home.

For most kids, separation anxiety sets in between 8 and 12 months of age and fizzles out around age 3.

But for kids who have a condition called separation anxiety disorder, which affects between 3 and 5 percent of children, those meltdowns can persist into elementary school and even after. They may escalate over time and include physical symptoms such as headaches and stomach aches.

The current pandemic has added an extra layer of stress and disruption. Symptoms might increase, especially in households where one or more parents are essential workers who are now home less often.

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of family law with a special focus on child custody, mental health, drug addiction, and domestic abuse.

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

Talking to Kids About Divorce

Parents going through a divorce should take steps to protect their children’s emotional health.

Professionals recommend that parents determine in advance what they will say to their kids.

Parents should make clear that the divorce has nothing to do with the children, and work together to ensure consistency in their daily routines.

Individual counseling or family counseling may be helpful to address any lingering concerns.

Spivak Law Firm handles all family law matters, including: child custody, child support, divorce, and Protection From Abuse (PFA).

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