Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

Based in Pittsburgh, PA

412-344-4900

Spivak Law Firm is BBB Accredited

South Hills Family Law Firm

Divorce and Bankruptcy

My spouse and I both want a divorce. We also need to file for bankruptcy due to our significant debts. What should we do first: file for divorce or file for bankruptcy?

The answer depends on the circumstances of your case, according to a recent article in Lawyers Journal written by Pittsburgh attorney Beth Slaby.

“If the spouses are on amicable terms, it may be best to file bankruptcy first,” she writes. “This allows both to share in the cost of attorneys’ fees and filing fees and could possibly protect them from paying joint debt.”

On the other hand, she writes: “The benefit of filing for divorce first may be that a married couple’s joint income is too high to qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, but a person might be able to qualify individually after the divorce is final.”

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).

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

How Much Will My Divorce Cost?

A divorce can occur quickly over a period of just a few months, or it can be dragged out over many years.

The cost of a divorce depends on the complexities of the issues and the willingness of the parties to reach an agreement.

Divorce cases may include several issues, including:

-Division of assets and debts

-Transfer of property ownership by deeds or titles

-Calculating spousal support and child support

-Determining a child custody schedule

-Obtaining a divorce decree

If there is agreement on all of the issues, then an attorney will simply draft the necessary documents and process them with the Court.

If parties cannot reach agreement, then there may be need for settlement discussions, negotiations, and possible litigation.

Divorce cases tend to cost more when they are more fully litigated in Court.

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

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

Divorce: Who Gets the House?

If both spouses want to remain in the marital residence after the divorce, then who will ultimately get the house?

This issue will be resolved as part of the divorce process.

Negotiations will occur to possibly induce one spouse into buying out the other spouse’s equity share of the residence.

The formula for calculating equity is simple: subtract the mortgage balance from the fair market value of the residence, then deduct an additional seven percent to account for realtor fees. The remaining amount constitutes the home’s equity.

If, after negotiations, the parties still cannot reach agreement about who gets the house, the court will decide. One possibility is that the court will force a sale of the residence and divide the proceeds between the spouses.

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

Child Custody and Abuse Allegations

Allegations of sexual or physical abuse of a child may complicate a child custody case.

Courts take child abuse allegations very seriously, often prompting Child, Youth, and Family (CYF) Services investigations and forensic evaluations by medical professionals and law enforcement.

The alleged perpetrator, victim, and relevant third parties are all interviewed.

If the allegations are determined to be “unfounded,” evaluators and caseworkers make recommendations that often include family counseling.

It could take months for CYF to make final determinations, and a court will likely restrict your custody rights during that time.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, effective advocacy for people facing child abuse allegations.

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

Crime Victims’ Rights in Pennsylvania

Under Pennsylvania law, crime victims have the right to:

  • Be notified of significant actions and proceedings pertaining to their case
  • Have a victim advocate providing support at proceedings
  • Submit a victim impact statement prior to the sentencing of a defendant
  • Receive restitution and the return of seized property

Enacted in 1998, the Pennsylvania Crime Victims Act includes a section titled the Crime Victims Bill of Rights.

Today, Pennsylvania lawmakers are considering whether to enshrine the rights of crime victims in the state’s constitution under Marsy’s Law.

Based in Pittsburgh, Spivak Law Firm handles all family law and criminal defense matters.

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

Living With Your Spouse During the Divorce

There is nothing unusual about spouses who decide to divorce but continue living together due to financial hardship.

They may sleep in different rooms and try to occupy separate parts of the residence to minimize conflict.

But such situations can be understandably tense and problematic.

If living together proves too difficult, one spouse may ask the court to award him or her exclusive possession of the residence.

Be careful not to engage in any abusive behavior that could lead to the filing of a Protection From Abuse (PFA) order, which may evict you from the home for up to three years and provide the other spouse leverage for getting the property as part of the divorce.

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

Divorce: Changing Your Name

It is common for people going through a divorce to resume their prior or maiden name.

In Allegheny County, the process for resuming your prior name is simple so long as it is part of a divorce action.

People are often happy to learn that they do not have to wait until the divorce is finalized to begin the process. So long as a divorce complaint has been filed, you may petition the court to resume your prior name.

After receiving authorization from the court, you will then need to inform different governmental agencies in order to update your contact information.

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of family law, including: divorce, child custody, child support, spousal support, alimony, name changes, estate planning, and Protection From Abuse (PFA).

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

Divorce with Compassion

Divorce may be one of the most stressful and emotionally painful events in your life.

The last thing you want is an attorney who talks down to you or does not return your calls.

At Spivak Law Firm, we provide compassionate representation in all family law matters, including:

We take the time to explain complex legal issues to our clients so they fully understand their options and rights under the law.

We pride ourselves on being available to our clients, who may find themselves in emergency situations that require immediate access to their attorney.

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

Alimony as Secondary Remedy

Alimony is considered a secondary remedy under Pennsylvania law.

If there are liquid assets in the marital estate, judges in Allegheny County prefer to award the lower earning spouse a higher percentage of the martial estate.

Divorce cases often do not include any alimony award, or there may be alimony for a short-term basis only.

Courts generally will not award unless the marriage exceeded 15 years and there is a significant disparity in income levels between the wife and husband.

To learn more about spousal support and alimony, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Divorce for the Higher Earning Spouse

The higher-earning spouse may be required to pay spousal support or alimony as part of a divorce.

Spousal support refers to money paid to the lower-earning spouse until the divorce is finalized. Alimony refers to money paid to the lower-earning spouse after the decree in divorce has been issued.

Additionally, the higher-earning spouse may be entitled to a smaller portion of the marital estate.

Under Pennsylvania law, the formal process for dividing a marital estate is known as equitable distribution. If the parties cannot agree about how to divide the marital estate, the court will issue an order based on principles of fairness.

In such cases, the court may not believe that a 50/50 division of marital assets is fair. Rather, the higher hearing spouse may receive as little as 40 or 45 percent of the estate.

To learn more about how to divide assets and debts as part of your divorce, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.