Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

Based in Pittsburgh, PA

412-344-4900

Spivak Law Firm is BBB Accredited

Upper St. Clair Family Law Attorney

Becoming a Better Parent Through Divorce

78287715Divorce can be an awakening for parents that results in them actually becoming better parents and taking more active roles in the children’s lives. If you were the main caregiver before divorce and did most of the work, wondering why your ex couldn’t take a greater parental role, his or her turnaround after the divorce can be frustrating.

But while it may be upsetting at first, ultimately you should come to realize that it is better for your children to have both parents involved in their lives. It may also make things easier for you if you find that you can share responsibilities such as driving the children to their friends’ homes, program, and other events.

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 Happens If You Don’t Pay Child Support?

Little girl wearing sundress holding flowersChild support payments in Pennsylvania continue until a child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later. If you owe child support but do not pay it, there are several enforcement measures that may be taken against you, including:

  • Your wages may be withheld
  • Your federal and state income tax refunds may be taken
  • Your bank or credit union may be ordered to turn over your financial assets
  • Major credit bureaus may be alerted
  • The following licenses may be suspended, denied, or not renewed:
    • Driver’s license
    • Commercial driver’s license
    • Professional or occupational license
    • Fishing license
    • Hunting license
  • Your passport may be denied or not renewed
  • Your lottery winnings may be taken
  • Your name may be published in the newspaper
  • Your overdue support may become a lien against all real estate that you own in Pennsylvania
  • You may be fined or imprisoned for up to two years

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

Awarding Alimony in Pennsylvania

ConflictIn Pennsylvania, courts generally disfavor granting alimony, reasoning that divorce should result in a clean break. Alimony, by contrast, links the parties together potentially for years post-divorce by forcing one party to pay the other on a regular basis.

Pennsylvania judges prefer to handle financial inequities resulting from divorce through property division in equitable distribution, the process for dividing marital assets and debts based on principles of fairness.

But courts will grant alimony in limited circumstances – for instance, to pay for one party’s education in order to increase his or her earning capacity.

To learn more about whether you may be entitled to alimony or other forms of spousal support, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Understanding Child Custody in Pennsylvania

102719637When seeking custody of a child in Pennsylvania, it is important to understand the different types of custody available.

First, distinguish between “legal custody” and “physical custody.”

“Legal custody” refers to the right to make major decisions affecting the best interests of a minor child, including medical, religious, and educational decisions. Under Pennsylvania law, there is a presumption that “legal custody” is shared equally by both parents.

“Physical custody,” on the other hand, refers to the actual physical possession and control of a child. Custody disputes usually arise over issues of “physical custody,” as parents disagree about who gets the child and when.

There are several types of “physical custody.”

“Shared physical custody” refers to when parents divide time with the child equally – for example, on a week-on, week-off basis. It does not have to be 50/50; even a 60/40 time split based on overnights spent with the child is considered “shared physical custody.”

Another typical custody arrangement occurs where one parent has “primary physical custody” and the other parent has “partial physical custody.”

“Primary physical custody” refers to the right to have physical possession of a child for the majority of the time.

“Partial physical custody” means the right to take possession of a child away from the custodial person for a certain period of time.

For example, a parent who gets the child every other weekend and for a few hours during the week has “partial physical custody,” whereas the other parent has “primary physical custody.”

Finally, “visitation” means the right to visit a child, but does not include the right to remove the child from the custodial parent’s control. “Visitation” is frequently granted to grandparents or a parent who has been out of the child’s life for a substantial amount of time.

“Supervised visitation” refers to when a court orders that a supervisor be present during the visit. This usually occurs when there are issues of physical abuse or substance abuse that could endanger a child’s welfare. If no such issues exist, the arrangement is known as “unsupervised visitation.”

It is important to remember that child custody arrangements can always be modified so long as the parents mutually consent. To speak with an experienced child custody attorney, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.