Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

Based in Pittsburgh, PA

412-344-4900

Spivak Law Firm is BBB Accredited

Spivak Law Firm

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.

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 and Separation Anxiety Disorder

Separation anxiety disorder is the most common anxiety disorder in children ages 12 and younger, and symptoms can emerge as early as age 2.

The causes aren’t entirely clear.

Genetics play a role – if one or both parents have an anxiety disorder of any kind, their children are more likely to have separation anxiety disorder.

The disorder can also be triggered in the wake of a stressful life event, like a high-conflict divorce or child custody dispute.

Parents who are concerned that their child may be showing signs of separation anxiety disorder should see a therapist who specializes in treating pediatric anxiety.

If left untreated, anxiety disorders increase the risk of other mental health conditions such as depression.

Treatment generally involves using cognitive behavioral therapy to help kids learn to manage symptoms plus training to help manage tantrums.

Spivak Law Firm handles all family law and child custody matters. We routinely help families connect with important resources, such as: pediatric counselors, family counselors, and co-parenting counselors.

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

Final Preparations for Divorce

When preparing for divorce, you should take stock of all your financial assets and debts.

For many families, the most significant assets include the marital residence and retirement accounts. Other assets may include bank accounts, investment accounts, vehicles, jewelry, and furnishings.

Debts commonly include credit cards, mortgage balances, home-equity lines of credit, and student loans.

At Spivak Law Firm, we routinely help people determine the value of their marital estates and negotiate divorce settlement agreements.

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

Tracking PFA Defendants

Under Pennsylvania law, a Protection From Abuse (PFA) order carries serious consequences.

It may evict you from your home, restrict you from your children, and even lead to your arrest.

New legislation may further strengthen the law by requiring PFA defendants to wear an electronic monitoring device.

Dozens of other states allow GPS monitoring for domestic-violence suspects.

In Pennsylvania, such devices are commonly used for criminal defendants.

PFAs are administered by family courts, though violating a PFA order may lead to criminal charges including Indirect Criminal Contempt, which carries a maximum six-month jail sentence.

The legislation regarding electronic monitoring comes on the heels of the 2018 law requiring a person under an active PFA order to turn over their firearms to local law enforcement within 24 hours.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, compassionate, cost-effective representation at PFA hearings. For a free consultation, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

High-Conflict Divorce

Most divorce cases are settled by negotiation without need to go to court or stand before a judge.

But some high-conflict cases make settlement impossible.

Spouses may disagree on everything from how to divide the marital estate to the child custody schedule or how much child support or spousal support should be paid.

In such cases, the spouses may engage in multiple motions, hearings or trials before the divorce can be finalized.

There may also be need to undergo discovery – the formal court process for obtaining important information needed for trial. In divorce cases, discovery may be necessary to obtain key financial documents.

Spivak Law Firm has extensive experience in high-conflict divorce and child custody. To schedule a consultation, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Domestic Violence and the “Boyfriend Loophole”

Existing federal law forbids people convicted of domestic violence against a current or former spouse to buy or own a firearm.

But what if the abuse was perpetrated by an intimate partner who is not your spouse?

Lawmakers may close the so-called “boyfriend loophole” to expand protections for abuse victims.

Efforts to renew the Violence Against Women Act include a provision to prohibit firearm ownership by those convicted of abusing, assaulting or stalking a dating partner, or to those under a restraining order.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, compassionate, cost-effective representation. We handle all areas of family law and criminal defense with a special focus on domestic violence, child custody, and Protection From Abuse (PFA).

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