We are delighted to announce that our physical office is re-opening to our existing and new clients. To provide safety to both our clients and staff, we are adapting the CDC guidelines for social distancing while we are in the yellow phase. Rest assured, that we have and will continue to regularly clean all areas of the office especially the high-traffic areas. All attorneys and staff will have their temperature taken daily and will be wearing masks when interacting with clients. Any attorneys and staff with a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher will work remotely. They will then be required to follow CDCrecommended steps, including not returning to work until the CDC criteria to discontinue home isolation are met.

As the health and safety of our clients and their families is our top priority, we are asking that our clients follow the procedures below during the yellow phase:

  1. Upon entering the building, we ask that all persons wash their hands or hand-sanitize. We will be providing access to soap, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes.
  2. We will also be taking temperatures with non-contact thermometers upon entering the office.
  3. Our office is set-up to comply with social distancing of six feet. In the conference and mediation rooms we are asking that each person sit a minimum of one chair apart from attorneys and/or staff at all times.
  4. Masks are available and will be provided open request.
  5. Teleconferences Zoom meetings, and FaceTime are available in lieu of inperson meetings if requested.
  6. We will continue to have the drop-box available for delivery of documents.

In the event that anyone is sick or have been exposed to COVID-19, we ask that you reschedule your appointment or utilize the electronic forums listed above.

As each county determines the procedures that will be followed, please ask your attorney of the specific procedures regarding the county in which your case in pending.

Please note that we will also continue to accommodate the needs of new clients, who are welcome, and as always we encourage and appreciate referrals. During this uncertain and unprecedented time, please stay safe and remember that Sweeney Law Office, LLC will remain by your side for all of your family’s legal needs. We ask that you have patience during this challenging time.

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Smoking could change your custody agreement

If you had a new year’s resolution to quit smoking, it might be a good idea to follow through with it if you are in the midst of a divorce and fighting for custody of your children. Going through a divorce is tough enough, but now custody and visitation of your children could come into play if you are a cigarette smoker. There have been recent cases of parents that smoke losing custody privileges.

Take the case of a mother who was a smoker. After her divorce, it was found that her child had asthma and the court decided that because she was smoking in the presence of her child, they felt that she didn’t have enough concern for her child’s well-being, and it changed her custody arrangement. In an upstate New York case, a judge ordered a woman to stop smoking in her home and in her car if she wanted to maintain visitation rights with her 13-year-old son.

Across the United States, cigarette smoking has become a source of contention because it revolves around who could get custody of the children in a divorce. In a survey conducted by Action on Smoking and Health, an anti-tobacco advocacy group, they found the following issues have been brought up concerning custody when one parent has a smoking habit.

  • Judges will not ignore the subject of tobacco smoke when it comes to child custody.
  • There have been thousands of cases where the court has ordered that a parent cannot smoke in the presence of their children, especially in the car.
  • If a parent is a smoker, there are court orders that prohibit that parent from smoking in the home 24-48 hours before a child arrives for a visit.
  • Smoking in the home by relatives can be a reason for modifying custody and visitation agreements.

This is no surprise to the advocates of this group who have been pushing their message about cigarettes and health. The best option for a parent who smokes is to quit smoking well before any legal action can be taken. This will be one less issue for you to worry about in regards to custody and visitation with your children. And, if it was your new year’s resolution to quit, now you have another reason to quit the habit.

Source: The Washington Times, “Smokers losing child custody cases a growing trend,” Myra Fleischer, Feb. 21, 2012

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