Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

Based in Pittsburgh, PA

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Westmoreland County Family Law

Post-Gazette Features Spivak Law Firm

 

sq2The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has once again featured Spivak Law Firm on issues involving family law and criminal defense.

The P-G recently published the article, Clean The Slate In Pennsylvania: The Commonwealth Should Make It Easier To Expunge Criminal Records And Give People A Fresh Start In Life, written by attorneys Todd Spivak and Rebecca Canterbury.

The Post-Gazette routinely features Spivak Law Firm, publishing several articles of important legal commentary on Protection From Abuse (PFA), child custody, and criminal-record expungement laws in Pennsylvania.

In Clean The Slate, Attorney Spivak and Attorney Canterbury critique a new Pennsylvania law that for the first time seals criminal information from public view for people convicted of second- and third-degree misdemeanors.

In Impoverished Parents Deserve Their Day In Court, Attorney Canterbury reveals how exorbitant filing fees in Allegheny County prevent low-income parents from asserting their child-custody rights.

In Crack Down on Domestic Violence in Allegheny County, Attorney Spivak recommends that only specialized judges with extensive domestic-violence training oversee PFA hearings.

In Improve Pennsylvania’s Domestic-Abuse Law, Attorney Spivak exposes the issue of bogus PFA orders and recommends ways to curb abuses in the system.

In Child Custody for Rapists, Attorney Spivak explains how sexual predators use family court to harass and intimidate their victims.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, compassionate, cost-effective representation in all family law and criminal defense matters. To schedule a consultation, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Promoting Love for Both Parents Helps Children

126998623According to family therapists, the worst thing is for children to feel torn. The message you need to give your children is that it is safe to love both parents, not that your child cannot love one parent because the other will be upset.

Children who are forced to take sides will feel torn, lost and angry. Children have to learn to evaluate each parent based on how he or she treats the child, not on what the parents think of each other.

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

Filing for Support in Pennsylvania

122499577To commence an action for spousal and/or child support, file a Complaint for Support in the Domestic Relations Section of the Court of Common Pleas in your county, where forms are provided. No fee is required to commence a support action in Allegheny County and many other Pennsylvania counties. The Domestic Relations Section then schedules the joint conference and/or hearing according to local rule. In Allegheny County, people who file for support receive a scheduling order with a hearing date usually set about four weeks away.

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.

Pennsylvania Child Support Guidelines

Beautiful baby of three months old in his mothers hands.Pennsylvania and 36 other states apply the Income Shares Model for calculating child support. Under this model, children of separated, divorced or never-married parents are entitled to receive the same proportion of parental income that they would have received if the parents lived together.

Several economic studies estimate the average amount of household expenses for children in intact households. These studies show that the proportion of household spending devoted to children is directly related to the level of household income and to the number of children.

Pennsylvania’s child support guidelines represent average expenses on children for food, housing, transportation, clothing and other miscellaneous items that are needed by children and provided by their parents. The guidelines, which are established by rule by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, are based upon the reasonable needs of the child.

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

Is Divorce Bad for Children?

111787230Is divorce bad for children? “Yes, obviously,” may be your knee-jerk response, but a recent article in Scientific American points to studies showing that in the long run divorce adversely affects only a small percentage of kids.

There are many conflicting studies about the long-term consequences of divorce on children. According to University of California professor Judith Wallerstein, most adults who were children of divorce experience depression and relationship issues. But research by University of Virginia professor E. Mavis Hetherington shows that only 15 percent of adult children of divorce experience greater problems than those from stable families.

There seems to be a consensus, however, that many children experience short-term negative effects from divorce, such as anger and anxiety. According to Hetherington’s study, such effects typically diminish or disappear by the second year post-divorce.

At Spivak Law Firm, we believe strongly in protecting children through the divorce process. We handle many high-conflict divorces with issues of child custody, child support, and protection from abuse (PFA). To speak with a Pittsburgh family law attorney, 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.