Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

Based in Pittsburgh, PA

412-344-4900

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Upper St. Clair Divorce Lawyer

Divorce: Who Gets The Family Pets?

When undergoing divorce or separation, you are likely worried about child custody, division of your property, and your pets.

You may view your dog or cat as a member of the family, but under Pennsylvania law, they are as much family as your television set. Pets are technically personal property, which means that a court will not order visitation or custody schedules for pets.

Courts will likely classify the pet as marital or non-marital property. If your ex purchased the pet prior to the marriage, the pet will be considered non-marital property and will likely go to your ex.

However, you have the option to bypass formal court proceedings and mediate this issue with your ex to develop an agreement that works for both of you.

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.

Key Time Periods for Divorce in Pennsylvania

Empty Pittsburgh BridgeUnder Pennsylvania divorce law, there are three main time periods that parties should consider:

  • Six Months: Before you can file for divorce in Pennsylvania, you or your spouse must have resided in the state for at least six months.
  • 90 Days: If you and your spouse consent to a divorce, you still must wait 90 days before the court will grant a final decree.
  • Two Years: 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 to one year.

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.

3 Types of PFA Orders in Pennsylvania

133338146There are three types of Protection From Abuse (PFA) Orders:

  • Emergency PFA Orders are issued by a District Justice when the Court is closed during non-business hours. An emergency PFA Order expires at the end of the next business day for the Court.
  • Temporary PFA Orders are issued by the Court of Common Pleas until a final hearing can be held, which is scheduled within ten business days.
  • Final PFA Orders are entered as a result of an appearance before the Court where both parties have the chance to be heard by the Judge.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, aggressive representation for plaintiffs and defendants at PFA hearings in Allegheny County, Beaver County, Butler County, Fayette County, Indiana County, Washington County, and Westmoreland County.

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

 

Providing Records to Your Divorce Lawyer

111787230Once the divorce process is under way, your lawyer will need ready access to all relevant financial documents. Start by locating and gathering together the following records pertaining to both you and your spouse:

  • Social Security numbers
  • Income tax returns for the past three years
  • Retirement savings plans statements for the past three years
  • Bank account statements
  • Insurance policies (life; automobile; house; other)
  • Stock certificates
  • Credit card bills
  • Employment payment stubs
  • Brokerage statements
  • Pension statements
  • Health insurance and work-related benefits
  • Real estate records
  • Receipts and monthly statements documenting household expenses and everyday expenses (groceries, gas, heat, water, personal grooming, transportation, gifts, clothing, laundry and cleaning supplies, entertainment, miscellaneous expenses, and so forth)
  • List of all assets and liabilities
  • Date of separation (the date of separation is the date used to determine the value of particular assets – the matrimonial home, bank statements, investments, and so forth)

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

Child Support and Social Security Disability

83496541Are Social Security Disability benefits includable as income for support purposes? It depends what kind of disability benefits you receive. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are includable in “income” as defined by Pennsylvania law; but Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are not income for support purposes.

Whether you qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) depends on your work history. To qualify for SSD benefits, you must have paid into the Social Security system by working for a certain amount of time. To qualify for SSI benefits, you need not have any work history at all. Unlike SSD, SSI is similar to a welfare program. SSI recipients must be disabled and have a monthly income that does not exceed a certain level.

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

Understanding Your Finances is Key in Divorce

111787230Getting a handle on your financial situation is key when going through a divorce. Organizing your finances can be difficult if you were not the one responsible for them during your marriage. If possible, try to become more financially aware before you separate:

  • Get more involved in your finances. Know the basics – pay the bills and file the statements. Learn how your daily and monthly expenses are managed.
  • Determine where the money is coming from and how it is applied toward your budget.
  • Take part in setting up investments such as retirement funds, and understand where and what the other assets are.

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

Telling Your Children About Your Divorce

78287715Divorce can be emotionally devastating for parents and children alike. Here are some tips from family counselors on telling your kids about your divorce:

  • Talk to the children together
  • Give your children time to react and time to be mad and sad, and to ask questions
  • Try to anticipate your children’s questions and reactions, and be prepared to respond
  • Encourage your children to talk about their feelings

The reasons behind your divorce are likely not relevant to your children and generally should not be shared, the experts say. What children need is: to feel loved; to realize the divorce is not their fault; a sense of security; routine and structure; and not to be put in the middle.

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