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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Taxes and Pennsylvania divorce: Pay attention while negotiating

Pennsylvania divorce negotiations typically involve a wide range of issues. As a couple negotiates the dissolution of their marriage, topics such as property division, spousal maintenance, child custody and support are addressed. One issue that sometimes plays second fiddle to these divorce discussions is the tax consequence of each decision made.

One frequently asked question is whether a divorcing couple may file a joint tax return. This is an issue of particular importance to many Pennsylvania couples, as the ability to file a joint return may result in additional tax savings. The answer depends on the date that a final divorce judgment is signed. As long as the divorce judgment has not been signed by the last day of the year, the couple is entitled to file jointly for the entire year, even if they were already living apart. If, however, the judgment is signed on Dec. 31 or earlier, the couple is deemed divorced for the entire year and may not file a joint return.

Child support and spousal maintenance is another area of importance when it comes to taxes. Child support is typically paid by a non-custodial parent to the custodial parent for the benefit of any minor children. It is not tax deductible for the person paying the obligation, nor is it considered taxable income for the person receiving it. Spousal maintenance, or alimony, is tax deductible by the payer and also considered income for the person receiving it.

As we’ve discussed before, tax consequences are a crucial part of Pennsylvania divorce negotiations. Failing to consider the tax ramifications of decisions made during the marital dissolution process could have a substantial impact after the proceedings are completed. The right advice may help those involved reach informed decisions that both protect their individual interests and work toward achieving an equitable divorce settlement.

Source: The Orange County Register, “Tax decisions can be overlooked during divorce,” Patrick Harper, Sept. 17, 2012

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