Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

Based in Pittsburgh, PA


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Pittsburgh Divorce Attorney

How Does a Retainer Work?

If you are hiring an attorney on retainer, there are two numbers you need to know.

Question #1: How much money will you need to pay upfront?

The lump-sum of money paid upfront represents the retainer itself. A retainer is an acknowledgement by the attorney and the client that the total cost for legal services is unknown. If the case resolves quickly with limited litigation or court appearances, there may be money leftover that is returned to the client. On the other hand, if the case is fully litigated and results in a trial, there may be a need to replenish the retainer when it runs out. The attorney deposits the retainer into an escrow account. At Spivak Law Firm, we routinely accept retainers for divorce and child custody matters. Most family law firms require a retainer in the range of $2,000 – $5,000 depending on the complexities of the case.

Question #2: What is your hourly rate?

An attorney bills against the retainer for legal services rendered. Periodically, clients will receive an invoice detailing all tasks performed on their case and how much time was spent performing each task. The invoice will also reflect how much money remains in the retainer so clients know if there is a need to add to the retainer for upcoming legal work. In Allegheny County, the hourly rate for family law attorneys varies widely from about $200 an hour all the way up to over $400 an hour. A client’s retainer will last longer with a lower hourly rate. At Spivak Law Firm, we aim to preserve our client’s resources by keeping our hourly rates low and frequently discounting our client’s invoices as a professional courtesy.

To learn more about hiring an attorney for your family law matters, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Preparing for Divorce


family-pic8If you are considering a divorce, it is important to have an understanding of your finances before initiating the proceedings.

Without this information, your attorney may have to engage in a costly discovery process to obtain the documents. Having copies of tax returns, utility bills, grocery bills, retirement accounts, bank accounts, and other financial documents could save you a substantial amount of money in attorney’s fees.

Take the time to review your financial documents and understand your marital assets and debts with the help of your attorney.

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.

Dividing Marital Property


ConflictUnder Pennsylvania divorce law, marital property is divided through a process known as equitable distribution. Marital property includes property acquired during the marriage, such as: houses, cars, retirement accounts, jewelry, artwork, etc.

To save significant time, stress, and money, you may bypass the formal equitable distribution process by reaching agreement on the distribution of marital assets through a written Marriage Settlement Agreement.

Spivak Law Firm handles divorce, equitable distribution trials, and the drafting of Marriage Settlement Agreements. Call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Child Custody and the Holidays


custody-pic3The holiday season is a fun but stressful time for families, especially if the parents have recently separated or divorced.

Straying from tradition during the holidays is difficult, but consider developing new traditions that accommodate your respective holiday schedules.

For instance, if you have the children on Christmas Eve, and your ex has them on Christmas Day, consider exchanging gifts that night. If your ex gets the kids for Thanksgiving this year, consider having your turkey dinner on a different day.

After all, the most important thing about the holidays is spending quality time with family.

Spivak Law Firm handles all family law matters, including divorce, child custody, child support, 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.

Avoid Stress in Divorce

Family Pic3Divorce doesn’t have to be stressful emotionally or financially.

Litigation tends to increase stress levels for people going through a divorce. But you can get a divorce without ever stepping into a courtroom.

Spivak Law Firm is trained in mediation and collaborative law. We are skilled negotiators who can help spouses reach settlement on all issues, including: child custody; child and spousal support; and dividing assets and debts.

If agreement is reached, we then draft a Marital Settlement Agreement and quickly process the divorce.

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

How Courts Divide Property In Divorce

ConflictWho gets the toaster? Who gets the couch? Who gets the car? Who gets the house? At its most basic level, divorce is about people splitting up and figuring how to split up their stuff.

Parties can always bypass the courts and figure this out for themselves with the help of a mediator or collaborative divorce attorney. Spivak Law Firm is certified in mediation and collaborative divorce.

In Pennsylvania, the formal process for dividing property through the courts is equitable distribution. Equitable does not mean equal; it means fair.

A court looks at several factors to determine how to fairly divide the parties’ marital assets and debts. Marital fault does not play any role here. Evidence of adultery or domestic violence does not affect equitable distribution.

According to Pennsylvania law, the court may consider each marital asset independently and apply a different percentage to each marital asset. Some key factors relevant to equitable distribution include:

–The length of the marriage;

–The needs of the parties;

–The income, job skills, and employability of each party;

–The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage;

–The contribution of each party in the acquisition of the marital property, including the contribution of the party as a homemaker; and

–The tax consequences associated with each asset.

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

Protecting Kids in Divorce

Little girl wearing sundress holding flowersIn Pennsylvania, courts generally frown on parents who fail to protect their children from conflicts during divorce.

If you’re engaged in a child custody dispute, protect your children from conflicts between you and your partner. Don’t say anything against your partner, no matter how provoked you might be, because anything could become evidence.

Avoid the following behavior:

  • Asking your children questions about the other partner;
  • Discussing court with your children or within their hearing;
  • Asking your children to compare you and your partner;
  • Giving your children choices between their two parents;
  • Exposing your children to your negative emotions.

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