Brian C. Vertz

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Family Law Attorney in Pittsburgh, PA

Pollock Begg
 | 525 William Penn Pl, Suite 3501
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Phone: 412-471-9000
Fax: 412-471-9001
Selected To Super Lawyers: 2005 - 2020
Licensed Since: 1992
Practice Areas:
  • Family Law (80%),
  • Appellate (20%)
  • Free Consultation
Attorney Profile

Brian C. Vertz is one of Pittsburgh's top divorce lawyers, with more than 25 years of experience in a full range of difficult and complex family law cases.  As a partner of Pollock Begg Komar Glasser & Vertz LLC, Brian is effective in resolving family law issues through skilled negotiation and drafting of settlement agreements, powerful courtroom skills, and persuasive advocacy in the appeals court. His clients feel confident because Brian dedicates himself completely to meeting their needs and objectives.

With an MBA degree and business valuation training in his background, Brian combines big-firm experience with the personal service of his focused boutique firm. He has a demonstrated aptitude for financial analysis, and has used his knowledge to benefit clients in divorce cases involving complex assets, professional practices, executive compensation, international custody, and matrimonial tax issues.  He is trained in mediation and arbitration to resolve disputes out of court, and he is creative and tenacious in pursuing favorable settlements.

Brian has received frequent recognition of his experience and knowledge in the family law sphere. He is listed in every edition of The Best Lawyers in America since 2010, and was named 2019 Best Lawyer of the Year for family law in Pittsburgh.  Brian is one of the four family lawyers named in the "Top 50 Lawyers in Pittsburgh" on Super Lawyers.  Martindale Hubbell has awarded its AV-Preeminent, the highest rating. 

Brian was elected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers in 2003 and now serves as the Treasurer and Past President of the Pennsylvania Chapter.  He is active at the national level as the co-chair of two committees and a lifetime member of the AAML Foundation.  Brian is a board member and Secretary of the AAML Foundation, a national 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to helping children and families in need.  The Pennsylvania Bar Association has elected Brian to the Family Law Council and its Executive Committee. He is also a Certified Valuation Analyst, a designation conferred by the National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts (NACVA) for proficiency in business valuation.

Brian has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to public service. He volunteers for Neighborhood Legal Services Association and donates to the Fellows Program of the Allegheny County Bar Foundation. As an officer of the AAML Foundation, he chairs the fundraising committee, which funds cash grants that are given to local children’s charities in 23 states.  He writes prolifically and his articles have appeared in legal publications for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute. He was also a broadcast presenter and author for the annual Family Law Update (since 2006), and he has written legal education materials on business valuation, tax, child support, executive compensation, equitable distribution and marital settlement agreements.  Twice he has contributed to amicus briefs before the U.S. Supreme Court in cases involving children and families.

Brian C. Vertz is the author of a nationally-recognized legal treatise on divorce taxation, Frumkes & Vertz on Divorce Taxation. He shares information about divorce tax and financial strategy on his legal blog at FamilyLawTaxAlert.com.

*AV Preeminent is a certification mark of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the confidential opinions of members of the Bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell ratings fall into two categories, legal ability and general ethical standards.

 
Practice Areas
  • 80%Family Law
  • 20%Appellate
Focus Areas

Alimony & Spousal Support, Child Support, Custody & Visitation, Divorce, Prenuptial Agreements, Marital Property, Appeals

Selections

Selected to Super Lawyers for 16 yearsbottom-image

Super Lawyers: 2005 - 2020

Certificates and Credentials

American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers

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Super Lawyers: Potential Client Inquiry

White Papers

  • Working from Home is Not So Bad (except for the money and the kids and the Coronavirus) (2020) - The 2020 CoVid-19/Coronavirus crisis is having a profound and unexpected impact on all of us.  Here in Western Pennsylvania, the Governor has imposed a shelter-in-place order that requires most people to stay home and work at their kitchen tables if they can.  Many businesses have been labeled as “non-essential” and closed for a while.  Too many workers have been laid off or furloughed.  Meanwhile, the stock market is crashing and bringing down our 401K accounts.  The grocery stores are out of eggs, toilet paper and chicken.  It is a very challenging environment, made even more difficult if you are experiencing a marital separation or custody problems. Some parents and spouses may soon notice a reduction of their support payments, due to the loss of wages and profits that funded them. Those who are paying support might be unable to keep up with their obligations after losing their jobs or closing their businesses, hopefully for only a few weeks but potentially much longer.  The economic downturn that parents and spouses are experiencing might require everyone to tighten their belts and adjust to the new reality. With an “invisible enemy” virus lurking on any metal and plastic surface, parents may be reluctant to increase their exposure and risk their children’s health by exchanging custody during the lockdown.  Yet, the Allegheny County courts and the Governor have been clear that court orders must be followed in most cases, and custody travel will be a permitted exception from the ban on driving. Couples who are separating or divorcing have been frozen in their tracks by the closing of the court system, except for PFA (protection from abuse) and emergency custody situations.  It is clear that “emergency” means a life-threatening situation, not just an urgent need to settle conflicts.  The courts will be backlogged when they reopen, which will not occur until mid-April or later. So, under these unprecedented conditions, my law firm is continuing to serve clients from our remote work sites around Allegheny and Westmoreland Counties.  We have our fingers on the pulse of the legal system, poised to help our clients navigate and resolve difficult issues involving divorce, custody, support, PFA and agreements.  After all, life goes on and we cannot avoid or postpone the need to settle important family law matters.  If you are in need, or want to discuss your issues with a skilled legal professional, contact me ([email protected]) to arrange a prompt callback.  I can help you to see the light at the end of the tunnel and provide the tools to survive until normality returns.  

  • Divorce - Your First Legal Strategy Decisions (2011) - The initial weeks of a marital separation are probably the most turbulent, uncertain part of the divorce process. The first few choices that spouses must make when they are contemplating divorce are important legal strategy decisions that require thoughtful consideration. Your divorce lawyer can help to assess the risks and possible consequences of those initial decisions. 1.   Move out or stay put? Pennsylvania doesn’t recognize a legal separation as some states do. Still, it is possible to be separated in the eyes of the law while living together under the same roof. A spouse who moves out must decide where to move, whether to take the children or property, and how the move might affect finances and custody arrangements. Spouses who stay put must be prepared to pay expenses for the marital residence during the separation period, as well as the possibility that the other spouse might refuse to move away, creating an uncomfortable standstill. 2.  File divorce or wait? Filing a divorce action is important in some cases where there is a need for the court’s assistance in freezing bank accounts or credit cards, obtaining financial records, or seeking exclusive possession of the marital residence. On the other hand, there may be a financial advantage in simply collecting support during the separation period without starting a divorce battle. 3.  Attempt reconciliation or stay apart? Repairing a broken marriage isn’t easy, but some have done it. Still, attempting to reconcile may have unintended legal consequences that must be considered. Reconciliation might delay the official separation date, which affects the value of marital property and the ability to finalize a divorce. The law generally does not permit spouses to have it both ways by preserving a separation date while attempting to reconcile. Some couples sign post-nuptial agreements to settle their financial disputes in case their reconciliation does not work out. 4.  Withdraw funds or leave them? Joint bank accounts and credit cards are common battlegrounds in the initial phase of divorce. Making withdrawals from joint accounts or charges on joint credit cards might be viewed as a hostile tactic, but a spouse who would otherwise be penniless might have no other choice. Conversely, raiding a joint account might deplete the good will needed to work out a settlement. 5.  Who to trust? Trust is one of the first casualties of divorce, so you need to find reliable allies. Consider supportive friends and family members who are able to keep your confidences and empathize with your feelings. Physical activities like exercise can reduce stress more effectively than alcohol or junk food. Hire a family lawyer that you feel comfortable with. It is important to understand what your lawyer is saying and to be heard when you speak to your lawyer. Consider lawyers who concentrate their practice in divorce and know the nuances of this complex area of legal practice.

  • About Brian Vertz

    Admitted: 1992, Pennsylvania

    Professional Webpage: https://www.pollockbegg.com/attorneys/brian-c-vertz/

    Honors/Awards:

    • Fellow, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 2003 - Present, Fellow, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
    • Named Best Lawyers Family Law “Lawyer of the Year” in Pittsburgh., 2019 Best Lawyer of the Year in Pittsburgh for family law, 2019
    • Named to Best Lawyers in America lists for family law in 2019. , Best Lawyers in America , 2019
    • Listed on the Top 50 Pittsburgh Super Lawyers list. , Top 50 on Pittsburgh Super Lawyers, 2018
    • Chosen by judges and legal peers,, Best Lawyers In America, Naifeh and Smith, 2017
    • Chosen by judges and legal peers, , Best Lawyers in America, Naifeh and Smith, 2016
    • AV-Preeminent Rating, Martindale Hubbell Law Directory, 2017

    Special Licenses/Certifications:

    • Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA) - National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts (NACVA), 2006
    • American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers - Treasurer & Imm. Past President, Pennsylvania Chapter, 2019
    • Pennsylvania Bar Association - elected to Family Law Section Council and Executive Committee, 2017
    • American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Arbitration Certification, 2013, 2013

    Bar/Professional Activity:

    • Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • U.S. Supreme Court, 1999
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, 2005
    • U.S. Circuit Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, 1992
    • Supreme Court of Georgia, 2006

    Pro bono/Community Service:

    • AAML Foundation - Treasurer and Board Member; Chair, Fundraising Committee; Member, Long Range Planning Committee; Member, Executive Committee - AAML Foundation is a national 501(c)(3) organization raising funds and making grants to local organizations that help children and families in need, particularly those affected by domestic violence and divorce., 2020
    • Allegheny Co. Bar Foundation - Attorneys Against Hunger - committee member and volunteer - raising funds and serving meal in food pantries and soup kitchens for the underprivileged, 2019
    • National Chair of the Amicus Committee, AAML, 2013-Present
    • Former Area Governor, Toastmasters International
    • ACLU Legal Committee, 1994
    • Area 12 Governor - Toastmasters International (Pittsburgh), 2009
    • Mellon Toastmasters, VP-Education, 2008
    • Board of Trustees, Crafton Public Library
    • Kiwanis Club of Pittsburgh, 2002

    Scholarly Lectures/Writings:

    • The leading national treatise on tax issues in divorce, Divorce Taxation is an indispensible reference book.  Complicated rules can slow down your progress as you work your way through the taxation pitfalls and opportunities that abound in divorces. Frumkes and Vertz on Divorce Taxation quickly guides you through trouble spots and alerts you to potential tax savings in property distribution, support, and more. It offers on-target explanations, examples, specimen clauses, forms, checklists, tables, and other practical planning tools—all designed to reduce the work in divorce tax planning. , Author / Editor, Frumkes & Vertz on Divorce Taxation, James Publishing, Divorced Parents, Divorcing Couples, Family Lawyers, Separated Couples, 2019
    • A black robe does not come with a crystal ball. No one, not even a judge, can predict the future. Yet that is what judges and divorce lawyers must do when they attempt to divide stock options, restricted stock, and other forms of incentive compensation in a divorce or support proceeding., Author, In the Money or Under Water? Capturing the Value of Incentive Compensation in Divorce, ABA Family Advocate, 2019
    • Spouses negotiating alimony payments may try to pay less when the change takes effect because there will be no tax savings, some experts told the newspaper. Brian Vertz, a family law lawyer in Pittsburgh, said women are more likely to be hurt by the change as they negotiate divorce terms. “The repeal reduces the bargaining power of vulnerable spouses, mostly women, in achieving financial stability after a divorce,” Vertz told Politico., New tax law affects alimony, could spur divorce surge, ABA Journal, 2018
    • Complicated rules can slow down your progress as you work your way through the taxation pitfalls and opportunities that abound in divorces. Frumkes and Vertz on Divorce Taxation quickly guides you through trouble spots and alerts you to potential tax savings in property distribution, support, and more. It offers on-target explanations, examples, specimen clauses, forms, checklists, tables, and other practical planning tools—all designed to reduce the work in divorce tax planning.This plain English manual walks you step-by-step through the most commonly arising trouble spots in property distribution, support, and more. It is intelligently organized and indexed, well supported with citations, and most important, loaded with practical advice., Author, Frumkes & Vertz on Divorce Taxation, James Publishing, 2018
    • Mr. Vertz wrote and presented "Support Law Update 2011" before a live audience in Pittsburgh and more than 500 lawyers at 24 remote locations via satellite TV broadcast., Course Planner, Family Law Update 2011, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, 2011, Author / Lecturer, Family Law Update, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, 2019
    • Brian Vertz is an author of a chapter of the PBI book "Slicing the Pie: Equitable Distribution in Pennsylvania.", Author, Slicing the Pie: Equitable Distribution in Pennsylvania, 2015
    • Speaker, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, "Valuing the Small Business in Divorce: Practice - Pointers – Pitfalls." 2012, Author / Lecturer, Valuing the Small Business in Divorce, Pennsylvania Bar Association, 2012
    • Author, Pennsylvania Family Lawyer, Volume XXXIV, No. 3. "Restrictive Custody Order Does Not Terminate Child Support Obligation." 2012., Author, Restrictive Custody Order Does Not Terminate Child Support Obligation, Pennsylvania Family Lawyer magazine, 2012
    • Lecturer, Pennsylvania Bar Association, Family Law Section Winter Meeting, "Hot Tips Regarding Ethical Dilemmas for the Family Law Attorney," and "Difficult Cases - Difficult Issues." 2012., Author / Teacher, Ethical Dilemmas for the Family Law Attorney, PA Bar Institute, 2012
    • Brian C. Vertz recently spoke before the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges on the topic of “Creating Custody Orders that Meet the Developmental Needs of Children.” Judges Kathleen R. Mulligan, Lisette Shirdan-Harris (Philadelphia), and David Workman (Lancaster), and Dr. Eric Bernstein were also speakers for the conference., Lecturer, Pennsyvlania Conf. of State Trial Judges, 2011
    • Author/Lecturer, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, "Slicing the Pie: Equitable Distribution in Pennsylvania." 2010, Co-Author, Slicing the Pie: Equitable Distribution in Pennsylvania, 2010
    • This half-day program will discuss hot topics in divorce and business valuation, with Bob Grossman CPA and Melissa Bizyak CPA, Author, Broadcast Presenter/Host, Business Valuation and Divorce, PBI, Business Valuation, Divorce, 2009
    • Drafting Marital Settlement Agreements, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, 2008, Author / Teacher, Drafting Marital Settlement Agreements, 2008
    • Mr. Vertz wrote and presented "Support Law Update 2008" before a live audience in Pittsburgh and more than 500 lawyers at 24 remote locations via satellite TV broadcast., Course Planner, Family Law Update 2008, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, 2008
    • Mr. Vertz wrote and presented "Child Support Provisions" for this hands-on seminar teaching lawyers to write marital settlement agreements., Author, Lecturer, Drafting Marital Settlement Agreements , Pennsylvania Bar Institute, 2008
    • Tax Consequences in Divorce: Avoiding the Pitfalls, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, 2005, Author / Lecturer, Tax Consequences in Divorce, 2005
    • Drafting Marital Settlement Agreements, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, 2003, Author / Lecturer, Drafting Marital Settlement Agreements, 2003
    • Tax Traps for the Unwary!, National Constitution Center, 2007
    • Co-Course Planner and Statewide Broadcast Presenter, Family Law Update, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, 2006 - 2011
    • Author/Lecturer, Business Valuation and Divorce, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, 2009
    • Author, "Equitable Distribution," Fundamentals of Family Law, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, 2009
    • Author, "Equitable Distribution," Fundamentals of Family Law, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, 2006
    • Author, "Equitable Distribution," Fundamentals of Family Law, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, 2004
    • Co-Author, "Child Support, Spousal Support and Alimony Pendente Lite," Fundamentals of Family Law, PBI, 2002
    • Co-Author, "Child Support, Spousal Support and Alimony Pendente Lite," Fundamentals of Family Law, PBI, 2006
    • Co-Author, "Child Support, Spousal Support and Alimony Pendente Lite," Fundamentals of Family Law, PBI, 2004
    • Co-Author, "Child Support, Spousal Support and Alimony Pendente Lite," Fundamentals of Family Law, PBI, 1996
    • Co-Author, "Child Support, Spousal Support and Alimony Pendente Lite," Fundamentals of Family Law, PBI, 1994

    Verdicts/Settlements:

    • Monasky v. Taglieri - contributed to amicus brief submitted by American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers in a U.S. Supreme Court case involving a child who was removed illegally from Italy in violation of the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction, 2020
    • Miller v. Miller - sustaining enforcement of a “binding mediation” agreement between spouses as a common law arbitration award, 2017
    • Mackay v. Mackay (2009) - Superior Court of Pennsylvania - college support, 2009
    • Gaboury v. Gaboury - 988 A.2d 672 - jurisdiction over divorce between resident and non-resident, 2008
    • Kokolis v. Kokolis (2006) - alimony order was extended to compensate spouse after an injury prevented her from returning to work within the time frame contemplated at the time of the divorce, 2006

    Transactions:

    • Prenuptial Agreements - protecting family businesses, premarital property, inheritance, professional practices, 2019
    • Settlement Agreements - divorce settlements involving property division, alimony, business succession, 2020

    Representative Clients:

    • Executives - C-Suite (CEO, CFO, CIO), Mid-Level, Managers, Officers, 2020
    • Licensed Professionals (Physicians, Dentists, Financial Service Professionals, Lawyers, Accountants, Engineers), 2020
    • Parents (International and Pennsylvania) - high conflict custody cases, relocation, custody contempt, Hague Convention removal, 2019
    • Business Owners - LLC Limited Liability Companies, Partnerships, Corporations, S Corporations, Sole Proprietorships, 2019

    Videos:

    Educational Background:

    • Juris Doctor (J.D.) - University of Pittsburgh School of Law, 1992
    • University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), B.A. in English Language and Literature, Minor in Economics, 1988
    • Katz School of Business, University of Pittsburgh, M.B.A. in Management Economics and Law, 1992

    Industry Groups

    • Business Owners
    • Executives
    • Family Wealth
    • High Net Worth
    • International Custody
    • Professional Practices
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    Office Location for Brian C. Vertz

    525 William Penn Pl
    Suite 3501
    Pittsburgh, PA 15219

    Phone: 412-471-9000

    Fax: 412-471-9001

    Brian C. Vertz:

    Last Updated: 3/24/2020

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