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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Fathers’ rights issues advancing in Pennsylvania and elsewhere

Fathers’ rights is a growing area of family law in Pennsylvania and throughout the United States. Traditionally, issues concerning fathers’ rights received little attention in a significant number of jurisdictions across the country. When parents divorced or separated, any minor children almost always ended up in the sole custody of the mother with the father was relegated to weekend visitations and a hefty child support payment. The times, however, are definitely changing.

A family law case in a northeastern state provides a glimpse into some of the issues that confront courts on a regular basis when the parents of a minor child dispute the rights of one another. Sometimes, the issues are about child custody. Other times, the main issue is the time and quality of court ordered visitations. This particular fathers’ rights case actually involved how the baby would be named legally.

A state family court granted a father’s request to change the last name of his baby from that of the mother to the joint name of the mother and father. The mother argued against the name change, which was requested when the baby was 17 months old, and ultimately appealed to the New Hampshire Supreme Court. She claimed the father, who was 15 years of age when the baby was born, did not take responsibility for the child. She also asserted that the standards used by state courts to name children lacked clear definition and resulted in sexist rulings.

In upholding the fathers’ rights claim, the state’s Supreme Court reaffirmed that the issue was properly decided by determining the best interests of the child. That is a guideline involving children and family law issues involving children that is followed by many jurisdictions throughout the country, including Pennsylvania. In this instance, the court held that the trial court had properly exercised its broad discretion. With more frequency, fathers have successfully argued to protect their parental rights in a wide range of family law issues regarding their minor children.

Source: Concord Monitor, “NH Supreme Court sides with father in baby name-change case,” Maddie Hanna, Oct. 30, 2012

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