Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

Based in Pittsburgh, PA

412-344-4900

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Final PFA: A Life-Long Record of Abuse

Many people who are served with a Temporary Protection From Abuse (PFA) Order make the mistake of not taking it seriously.

They might not hire an attorney. This is mistake because the alleged victim will almost certainly have an experienced trial lawyer. Pittsburgh and all surrounding counties have local nonprofit organizations that provide free lawyers for people alleging abuse.

Some defendants do not even show up to court for the Final PFA hearing. This is a mistake because failing to appear for the hearing will usually result in a maximum three-year Final PFA against you.

All defendants should have an experienced PFA attorney evaluate their case even if they no longer want to have contact with the person alleging abuse.

A Final PFA creates a permanent record of abusive behavior.

If you’ve been served with a PFA, call Spivak Law Firm today. For a free consultation, call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Child Custody: Strategies to Prevent Meltdowns

Young children may exhibit symptoms of separation anxiety when their parents divorce. Symptoms may include whimpering to be picked up, shrieking if a parent leaves the room, or wailing at bedtime.

Child psychologists recommend the following strategies to prevent or de-escalate meltdowns:

  • Validate their feelings: Acknowledge that you understand why the situation makes them feel scared, and encourage them to practice being brave and trying an activity on their own.
  • Reward quiet acts of bravery: Avoid prolonging goodbyes and paying attention to tantrum. Be sure to reward them for playing alone or going to bed without fuss.
  • Practice routines: If you suspect that your child might struggle with an upcoming event, like starting remote learning, returning to preschool or an overnight visit with family, practicing the routine a few days before can help your child prepare.
  • Provide a transitional object: Give your children something small and personal that reminds them of home – that they can keep in their pocket or cubby and retrieve when they need to feel a connection to loved ones.
  • Relieve your own stress: Anxious parents can exacerbate their children’s anxiety, so take steps to relieve your own stress.

Spivak Law Firm handles all family law matters, including: divorce, child custody, child support, spousal support, alimony, separation of assets and debts, estate planning, and Protection From Abuse (PFA).

To speak with an experienced family law attorney, 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.

Divorce for the Lower Earning Spouse

The lower-earning spouse stands to gain financially in many divorce cases.

For instance, the lower-earning spouse may receive spousal support – monthly payments until the divorce is finalize. In some cases, the lower-earning spouse may also receive alimony – monthly payments that continue even after the divorce is finalized.

Additionally, the lower-earning spouse may be entitled to a larger division of the marital estate.

If the parties cannot agree about how to divide the marital estate, the court will issue an order based on principles of fairness under Pennsylvania law.

In addition to monthly support, the lower-earning spouse may be entitled to receive a 55 or even 60 percent share of the marital estate.

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

PFA Hearing: Do I Need A Lawyer?

Q: I’ve been served with a PFA. Do I need an attorney?

A: Yes.

In Pittsburgh and surrounding counties, a free attorney is provided to anyone alleging abuse in PFA Court.

Therefore, if you are a PFA defendant, you should level the playing field by hiring an attorney to represent you.

Otherwise, you will be negotiating with and potentially facing off in court against a seasoned PFA lawyer.

A Final PFA carries significant consequences.

You may be evicted from your home and restricted from your children. You may lose your job. You could even lose your liberty and go to jail if accused of violating the PFA.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, aggressive defense at Final PFA hearings. If necessary, we subpoena documents and witnesses. We are experienced trial lawyers.

We offer a free consultation for PFA matters and generally charge a flat fee so our clients know upfront exactly how much our representation will cost.

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

Financial Preparations for Divorce

If you and your spouse are about to separate, you should consult with an attorney about financial preparations for divorce.

You may want to defer income or delay any major purchases until after a divorce complaint has been filed in order to preserve your assets.

It is important for you to obtain copies of recent statements related to your marital estate. These include mortgage balance statements and retirement account statements, as well as tax returns and W-2s.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, compassionate, cost-effective representation in all divorce and family law matters.

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

PFA Hearings: Child Testimony

A child under 13-years-old who alleges physical or sexual abuse may not have to testify at a Protection From Abuse (PFA) hearing under Pennsylvania Law.

The Tender Years Hearsay Act allows a psychologist or caseworker from Children Youth and Families (CYF) to testify on the child’s behalf.

The purpose of the Act is to protect children from the added trauma of appearing in court to describe the details of the alleged assault.

New legislation may expand the Act to include children under 17-years-old.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania opposes the bill on grounds that it violates the defendant’s right to due process.

Courts heavily rely on other professionals to determine whether abuse on a child actually occurred.

There may be a forensic interview conducted by a child abuse specialist in the presence of a police detective and a CYF caseworker.

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of family law and criminal defense with a special focus on PFA, domestic abuse and high-conflict child custody.

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

Domestic Abuse and Mass Shootings

Experts say there are striking parallels between the factors that drive domestic violence and mass shootings.

FBI data on mass shootings from 2009 to 2015 show that 21 percent of the attackers had previously been charged with domestic violence.

For instance, Omar Mateen, the gunman in the nightclub massacre in Orlando, Florida, had reportedly beaten and attempted to control his ex-wife during their brief marriage.

“Take the dynamic of coercive violence to its most horrible extreme,” according to an article in The New York Times, “and it looks an awful lot like how the Islamic State treats women. It is intimate violence on an industrial scale.”

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of family law and criminal defense with a special focus on domestic abuse.

Call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

How to Divorce a Jerk

Divorce can be emotionally difficult especially if your ex behaves like a jerk who demeans and disrespects you.

Conflict mediators recommend the following tips for dealing with a difficult ex:

Don’t be defensive: Getting defensive may be a natural response, but it only escalates the cycle of aggression.

Redirect the discussion: Start a conversation about the conversation itself by reflecting on the tone of the discussion.

Challenge their aggression: Gently challenge the belief that aggression is necessary.

Minimize interaction: An aggressive ex can’t cause as much harm if interactions are limited. Consider having all communication occur through the attorneys, if necessary.

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of family law with a special focus on high conflict divorce and child custody as well as allegations of domestic abuse.

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