Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

Based in Pittsburgh, PA

412-344-4900

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South Park 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.

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 Relocation

Beautiful baby of three months old in his mothers hands.Under Pennsylvania child custody laws, relocation is defined as any change in residence that substantially affects the custody rights of the other parent. Even if there is no custody order, you must abide by the relocation statute. Indeed, relocating just 20 minutes away could be a violation of the law and result in a contempt action against you.

Proper custody relocation involves either gaining consent from the other parent or obtaining court approval through a formal process.

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

Child Custody and Social Media

Custody Pic3Everyone has a friend or follower on social media known as the “over-sharer” who posts private information for everyone to see.

If you’re engaged in a child custody dispute, avoid being the “over-sharer.” Think twice about whether or not your next status update could negatively affect your case. What was once a venting session could become evidence that your ex-spouse’s attorney uses against you in Court. The same holds true with emails and texts.

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

Pennsylvania Child Custody Laws

dandelion wishing blowing seedsPeople commonly believe that courts favor mothers over fathers when determining child custody schedules. But Pennsylvania law does not give special preference to mothers over fathers.

In fact, many judges today believe that the ideal custody arrangement provides for an equally shared schedule in order to maximize the child’s time with both parents. The results in any child-custody dispute depend on the particular facts and circumstances of the case.

At Spivak Law Firm, we handle all child-custody matters, including: trials, conciliations, relocation hearings, and contempt actions. Call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Divorce: Living Separately Under One Roof

ConflictGiven today’s economic realities, it is not at all uncommon for married couples to continue living together even after separating and heading toward divorce.

After all, many families struggle to keep up with their expenses in one household. Taking on a second mortgage or another monthly rental payment may not be an option.

Even if the parties still live together, it is possible to establish a date of separation for purposes of divorce so long as the parties:

  • Separate bank accounts. The parties should separate their finances by opening individual bank accounts.
  • Abstain from marital sex. The parties should no longer share a bedroom or bed.
  • Do not hold themselves out as married. The parties should refrain from describing themselves as a married couple to others in the community.

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.

What to Expect At Your Child Support Hearing

Custody Pic5In Allegheny County, many people resolve child support issues without need for a hearing. Parties first disclose their income and expenses to a domestic-relations officer usually in a small office or cubicle. The officer will usually run calculations based on state support guidelines established by the Pennsylvania Legislature. The parties then have an opportunity to reach an agreement as to the amount of support, if any. The officer at this first level does not have authority to enter a recommendation.

If the parties do not reach agreement, they will attend a hearing on the same day. The hearing is a mini-trial in which each party is sworn under oath and permitted to testify, introduce evidence, and cross-examine one another. The hearing officer will hear testimony, accept evidence, and issue a recommendation within 30 days. If either party is dissatisfied with the recommendation, he or she may file an appeal known as exceptions to be reviewed by the judge assigned to the case.

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

Reduce Waiting Period for Divorce

Conflict between the man and the woman

If one spouse does not consent to a divorce, then the spouse seeking the divorce must wait two years before requesting a final decree. Currently Pennsylvania is considering legislation to reduce the waiting period for a contested divorce to one year.

Pennsylvania House Bill 380 calls for reducing the waiting period for a no-fault divorce based on separation from two years to one.

Proponents of the legislation say that expediting divorce will enable courts to focus greater attention on child custody disputes.

“Where the divorce is inevitable,” attorney Maryann Modesti testified at a recent meeting of the Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee, “allowing the family to focus on the challenge of co-parenting as divorced parents is better than the emotional toll of a delay in the divorce litigation.”

Currently many other states impose a short waiting period than two years. For instance: Maryland has a one-year waiting period; New York has a six-month waiting period; and West Virginia imposes no waiting period at all.

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

What’s In A Child Custody Order?

Beautiful baby of three months old in his mothers hands.A child custody order can be short – as little as half a page – or very long – running many dozens of pages. Child custody orders typically direct how parents:

–Share responsibility for making major decisions that affect the children

–Share time with the children during the school year

–Share time with the children during the summer months

–Share time with the children during holidays and birthdays

–Communicate about the children

–Communicate their vacation plans

–Transport the children for custody exchanges

–Notify one another if they plan to relocate

Parents need not follow the order so long as they both agree to changes. But in the event parents disagree, the order provides a framework that enables them to co-parent effectively while minimizing conflict.

At Spivak Law Firm, we provide strong, compassionate representation in all child custody matters. Call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

High Conflict Child Custody Cases

Custody Pic9In Allegheny County, parents are strongly encouraged to determine their own child custody schedules. In most cases, with the help of family law attorneys and court-appointed mediators, parents are able to reach agreement on how to divide time with their children.

But high-conflict custody cases often cannot be resolved through negotiation. Parents with serious communication problems and high levels of anger and distrust may take their cases to trial.

At Spivak Law Firm, we are effective negotiators who help parents craft their own child custody orders. We are also trained trial lawyers experienced at aggressively litigating cases to reach our client’s goals.

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