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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Soldiers to be happy about child custody law changes in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania soldiers likely have a lot of gratitude toward one state senator. This woman was inspired to create a bill ensuring that no judge could change a child custody arrangement whose parent is an active-duty member of the military. She found inspiration when she heard of one set of grandparents not being allowed to see their grandson while their son was serving his country overseas in Iraq.

While it is true that many divorced couples are not very fond of their previous in-laws, should it mean that those in-laws, obviously grandparents and family members of the child, shouldn’t be allowed to see the child?

The answer may vary depending on who is asked. However, many feel that the situation — one parent being in the military, away from home and overseas nowhere near their child — is difficult enough as it is without the added strain that is caused when the child can’t see family members, such as grandparents.

Luckily, for military service members and their families, the state senator has enough inspiration for this bill when introduced that passed onto the governor, who passed and signed the bill on April 12 to create a new law. This will permit a military service member that is being deployed overseas to petition for a temporary reassignment of child custody to his or her relatives. And because deployment can be so sudden, a military service member can testify by phone or other means if they are unable to appear in the courtroom.

Unless there is a real reason — proof that the child should not be with those relatives — this child custody order cannot be changed. It is important for military members to understand that this is only a temporary order and does not mean that these arrangements will remain the same upon return. Regardless, this is a great change for soldiers and their children in Pennsylvania.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “Child custody law changes for soldiers,” Amaris Elliott-Engel, April 30, 2012

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