Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

Based in Pittsburgh, PA

412-344-4900

Spivak Law Firm is BBB Accredited

Pittsburgh Family Law Firm

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 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.

Child Custody: Parenting During COVID-19

Parents of young children may take solace or even find helpful tips or simple wisdom in hearing from others working through the challenges of parenting during the pandemic.

In a recently published letter, Lydia Kiesling relates meltdowns shared with her 6-year-old daughter during the lockdown:

“For months, she and I have found ourselves locked in an awful duet of upset and recrimination. I yell; she yells; we both cry. As March turned into April turned into June – as “you’ll see your friends soon” became “at least there will be kindergarten in the fall” became hopefully it will be safe by first grade” – it grew clear that even the most cosseted children won’t get out of this situation unscathed.”

She praises a seminal book on parenting: How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk, Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish.

The book reminded her that life is flying by:

“I spent so much of the early pandemic days in a holding pattern that I failed to realize that the pandemic had become reality – that our crisis mode urgently needed to be retooled for a longer journey, emotionally as much as logistically. Regardless of how we feel about this period, it is happening, and the days continue to pass.”

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of family law, including: child custody, divorce, child support, spousal divorce, and Protection From Abuse (PFA). To schedule a consultation, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

 

Child Custody and Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is normal and happens as children begin to differentiate between things that are safe and familiar and things that are new and different.

Classic symptoms include clinginess when a parent or caregiver is present, and crying or short tantrums right after the person leaves the room or home.

For most kids, separation anxiety sets in between 8 and 12 months of age and fizzles out around age 3.

But for kids who have a condition called separation anxiety disorder, which affects between 3 and 5 percent of children, those meltdowns can persist into elementary school and even after. They may escalate over time and include physical symptoms such as headaches and stomach aches.

The current pandemic has added an extra layer of stress and disruption. Symptoms might increase, especially in households where one or more parents are essential workers who are now home less often.

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of family law with a special focus on child custody, mental health, drug addiction, and domestic abuse.

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

Talking to Kids About Divorce

Parents going through a divorce should take steps to protect their children’s emotional health.

Professionals recommend that parents determine in advance what they will say to their kids.

Parents should make clear that the divorce has nothing to do with the children, and work together to ensure consistency in their daily routines.

Individual counseling or family counseling may be helpful to address any lingering concerns.

Spivak Law Firm handles all family law matters, including: child custody, child support, divorce, and Protection From Abuse (PFA).

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.

Child Custody: Back to School Amid COVID-19

In Pennsylvania, many school districts are offering parents three options for school amid COVID-19:

  • Option #1: Go to a physical classroom inside their school building
  • Option #2: Attend school online only
  • Option #3: Choose a hybrid of the first two options by going to a classroom for part of the week and attending school online for the remainder

Parents who share custody of their children may not agree on which option to choose. One parent may feel that send their child into a classroom is too risky given the coronavirus. One parent may feel strongly that the risk of infection by sending the child into a physical classroom is low and necessary to ensure proper learning.

If the parents cannot agree, then a hearing officer may make the decision for them at a school-choice hearing. Both parents will get the opportunity to explain their positions, and the hearing officer will make a decision based on the children’s best interests.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, compassionate, cost-effective representation in all child custody and family law matters. Call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Child Custody and Health Issues

Childhood obesity rates have risen to alarming levels in America.

Due to increased awareness into the long-term health consequences associated with obesity, parents and courts have grown concerned.

During custody disputes, many Moms and Dads may point out the physical health of their children as an attack against the other parent.

Pennsylvania courts decide custody disputes in the best interests of the child.

If a child’s health problems associated with obesity are exacerbated by decisions made by a parent, this has the potential to negatively impact their case.

For instance, if Dad regularly provides fast food meals for his overweight, diabetic child, a judge could determine that primary custody should go to Mom, who regularly makes healthy meals and exercises with the child.

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

Modifying A Child Support Order

Parents can petition the court for a review and modification of their child support order at any time if they feel there is a change in circumstance that may affect the amount of the child support order.

Additionally, every three years the Domestic Relations Section will send each parent a notice asking if they want their support case reviewed.

The review is to make any appropriate increase, decrease, modification or termination of the support order.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, compassionate, cost-effective representation in all family law matters, including: divorce, child custody, child support, and Protection From Abuse (PFA).

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

Enforcing Child Support Orders

The Pennsylvania Child Support Enforcement System (PACSES) is the statewide computer system used by the domestic relations section in each county.

PACSES maintains information related to child support payments, work history for each parents, and the history of the case.

Family court administrators use PACSES to monitor support payments and enforce support orders.

Spivak Law Firm handles all family law matters, including: divorce, child custody, child support, and Protection From Abuse (PFA).

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

Kids Who Witness Violence

Children who witness abuse suffer emotionally behaviorally, and cognitively.

There are no typical reactions to violence experienced by children.

Factors that may affect their behaviors include:

-Age

-Gender

-Amount of violence witnessed

-Type of abuse witnessed

-Whether the child is a victim as well as an observer of the abuse

Parents should try to be aware of behaviors that are unusual for a particular child and continue for a week or more.

If necessary, they should seek the help of a mental-health professional.

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of family law with a special focus on child custody and domestic abuse. Call us today at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.