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 support by deception: what should you do?

Child support is an understandably important matter in Pennsylvania and across the country. Paid for the benefit of the children involved, child support is typically due from the noncustodial parent and remitted to the custodial parent. The payments can quickly add up to a significant sum, and few would argue that the cost of raising a child in modern society is unsubstantial. One case from another state recently tackled the question of what happens when a child support order is based on the willful deception of one of the parties.

One man is said to have stepped up to the paternal plate and proposed marriage when a woman told him that he was the father of her child. Thereafter, they got married and were together for the better part of 10 years. Their marriage crumbled when the wife admitted to him that she had an affair while he was off driving a truck for a living. In their subsequent divorce and child custody proceeding, he discovered that his wife had lied to him all along. He was not the biological father of the child.

The man then sued through the Tennessee court system, where the case originated. He sought to recover child support payments, health insurance premiums and doctors bills he had paid since the divorce. The trial court agreed and awarded him in compensatory damages. Those damages included attorney fees and emotional distress. While an appeals court reversed the trial court, the state’s highest court reinstated the judgment, holding that the facts constituted intentional misrepresentation under Tennessee common law.

While the decision of Tennessee’s highest court is not binding in Pennsylvania, the underlying issues are of importance anywhere. Those individuals who believe they have been victimized by intentional misrepresentation of facts may benefit from seeking guidance regarding the law in Pennsylvania and the appropriate relief. While each child support situation is different and may call for different approaches, those who are fully informed of their rights will likely be in the best position to take advantage of them to achieve a fair result.

Source: Examiner.com, “Tenn. High Court rules woman owes damages for lying about fatherhood of child,” David Oatney, Oct. 2, 2012

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