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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Child custody: ‘Gossip Girl’ star must go to France to see kids

Kelly Rutherford, the actress known for her role on the TV series “Gossip Girl,” has been embroiled in child custody litigation with her ex-husband. New details have emerged from the trial which give Pennsylvania readers some indication of the basis for the court’s decision. The judge ordered that the father shall be the primary residential parent of the former couple’s two children. The child custody determination was unusually significant because the children will now reside with the father in France.

Indeed, it is reported that the two children, ages 5 and 3, are already living abroad. The court’s decision appears based, at least in part, on its findings concerning the actions of Rutherford. It is said that she sought to minimize and even eradicate the father’s role in the children’s lives. On the other hand, the court is said to have credited the father for promoting the childrens’ relationship with their mother.

The judge presiding over the child custody proceedings apparently requested that Rutherford include the father’s name on the birth certificate. She is said to have continually resisted. Furthermore, the court apparently concluded that Rutherford’s actions were not consistent with the desired role of a “residential parent.” The custody determination did award the mother equal time with the children but directed that that time will have to take place in France. To that end, the father must furnish Rutherford with six round trip tickets to France each year, as well as provide her with a house and car when she is there.

As Pennsylvania parents likely know, when a mother and father are not able to agree on a child custody arrangement, the court is left to decide the issue for them. In reaching a determination, a court typically seeks to act in the best interests of the children involved. In this instance, the unwillingness of one parent to cooperate with the other appears to have been a deciding factor. As such, it underscores the importance for parents to interact with their children in a manner that seeks to foster a positive relationship with the other parent.

Source: Entertainmentwise.com, “Judge Says Kelly Rutherford Attempted to Alienate Children From Dad,” Patricia Ramos, Aug. 30, 2012

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