Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

Based in Pittsburgh, PA

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South Hills Family Law

Expanding Your Child Custody Schedule

 

Custody Pic1Young children should have frequent contact with both parents, which includes engaging in daily routines. When planning your custody schedule, you should consider the following:

  • The child’s temperament;
  • Any special needs of the child;
  • The amount of conflict between you and the other parent;
  • The child’s familiarity with the households;
  • The childcare provided by each parent.

If you had less involvement in your child’s daily routine, you may consider exercising custody on a gradual basis to acclimate your child to the change. But once you are more familiar with your child’s daily routine, you may begin exercising more overnights.

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

Child Custody Mediation

dandelion wishing blowing seedsChild custody mediation provides an opportunity for you and the other parent to discuss what is best for your child without attorneys present. It is a time reserved for working out an ideal schedule for both the parents and the child.

Here are four don’ts for mediating a custody dispute:

  • Don’t neglect the needs of your child;
  • Don’t assume one parenting plan works for all children;
  • Don’t go to mediation without a plan; and
  • Don’t denigrate the other parent.

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of family law, including: child custody, child support, divorce, and Protection From Abuse (PFA). To speak with an experienced child custody attorney, contact Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

 

Spivak Law Firm Hires New Attorney

rc-headshot-white-fullSpivak Law Firm is pleased to announce that Rebecca Canterbury has joined our family law and criminal defense practice as an attorney at law.

A Pittsburgh native, Attorney Canterbury earned a Juris Doctor degree from Duquesne University School of Law. During law school, she represented clients at Protection From Abuse (PFA) and child custody hearings while working for Neighborhood Legal Services Association and the Duquesne University School of Law Family Law Clinic.

Attorney Canterbury served as a law clerk for the Honorable Kevin G. Sasinoski of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas – Criminal Division, as well as for several private law firms in Pittsburgh focusing on criminal defense and family law. She began as a law clerk at Spivak Law Firm before joining the firm as an attorney.

While serving as president of the Family Law Society at Duquesne University School of Law, Attorney Canterbury organized and moderated a symposium to address whether Pennsylvania’s Protection From Abuse (PFA) laws strike the right balance for protecting domestic-violence victims while also limiting false claims of abuse.

Earlier this year, Attorney Canterbury wrote an article published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette entitled Impoverished Parents Deserve Their Day In Court on how filing fees in Allegheny County prevent low-income parents from asserting their child-custody rights. The article was reproduced in the fall 2016 edition of At Issue, published by the Pennsylvania Bar Association.

This month, Attorney Canterbury co-wrote an article with Attorney Spivak published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette entitled Clean The Slate In Pennsylvania on the importance of making it easier to expunge criminal records and give people a fresh start in life.

Attorney Canterbury focuses her practice on PFAs, child custody, domestic-violence defense, and criminal record expungements.

Spivak Law Firm offers a free consultation on family law and criminal defense matters. To schedule an appointment, call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Divorce May Result in Multiple Trials

ConflictIn Allegheny County, every aspect of a divorce is handled separately through the courts.

A divorce commonly includes the following issues: child custody, child support, spousal support, dividing marital assets and debts, and the divorce itself.

There is not just one trial that resolves all these issues.

Instead, each issue is placed on a separate trial track. This means you may face multiple trials or hearings: one to address child support, another to resolve child custody, and still another to determine how to divide assets and debts.

Spivak Law Firm handles all family law matters, including: divorce, child custody, child support, spousal support, and Protection From Abuse (PFA). Call us today at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Child Custody and Child Support

Beautiful baby of three months old in his mothers hands.Contrary to popular belief, parents retain custody rights to their children even if they fail to pay court-ordered child support. Child custody and child support are two separate legal issues.

Just because you do not receive child support does not mean that you can refuse custodial access to the children. If you have a custody order, and you refuse to abide by its terms, you may be held in contempt for violating a court order, which carries the following potential consequences:

  • Up to six months in jail;
  • A fine up to $500;
  • Probation for up to six months;
  • Suspension of your driver’s license; and
  • Payment of the other parent’s attorney’s fees.

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

Domestic Violence Warning Signs

dv-pic5Domestic violence experts increasingly aim to identify “red flags” that often precede homicides and murder-suicides where abuse is present.

Warning signs include: strangulation, stalking behavior, sexual violence, gun possession, unemployment, substance abuse, and prior attempts by the victim to end the relationship.

Previous abuse by the suspect is the strongest of these “red flags,” according to experts.

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

Child Custody: Kids With Two Homes

Custody Pic3Separation and divorce often means two different homes for children, which also often means two competing sets of rules for children to follow.

As a parent, you have the right to set the rules for your children, even if those are different than your ex-spouse. But having opposite rules for children in each household can be confusing for them at a time when they’re learning to cope in a new family environment.

Consider the following three tips to avoid confusing the children:

  • Follow a similar schedule for the children (dinner time, bed time, etc.).
  • Create consistent rules to follow in each household.
  • Implement similar forms of discipline, and work together to enforce the rules.

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

4 Tips for PFA Defendants

PFA Pic1It is important to maintain your composure at your Final PFA hearing.

It will be difficult to remain calm while the opposing party makes allegations of abuse against you, but walking into a hearing with a bad attitude may affect the judge’s opinion of you and add to the plaintiff’s credibility – even if the allegations are false.

To avoid discrediting your version of events, follow these four tips at your PFA hearing:

  • Do not raise your voice in anger to the judge, your lawyer, or the other party;
  • Do not shake your head, roll your eyes, or laugh while the other party is speaking;
  • Do not interrupt the other party or the judge;
  • Do not make mean-spirited comments about the other party.

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

Child Custody and Summer Vacation

dandelion wishing blowing seedsChildren eagerly await the end of the school year and the start of summer vacation. But summer vacation can be a stressful time for you and your ex, as this means accommodating one another’s vacation schedules. These five tips can help alleviate some of the tensions that arise when planning vacations:

  • Tell your ex your plans ahead of time;
  • Do not violate the terms of an existing custody order;
  • Give your ex the details of your trip (location, lodging, transportation, phone numbers, etc.);
  • Arrange for communication between the children and your ex;
  • Confirm the agreement in writing.

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

Parenting Plans for Teens

Family Pic6Teenage children are often more adaptable to custody schedules because they can better balance differences in household routines. As long as the parenting plan allows the children to see both parents on a frequent and continued basis, the schedule can be flexible. When making a parenting plan for your teenagers, consider the following:

  • Permit the children to call the other parent in privacy;
  • Respect the well-reasoned preferences of the children;
  • Accommodate the children’s school activities and extracurricular activities;
  • Consider the social needs of the children.

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