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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Collaborative divorce in Pennsylvania: Is it for you?

We have written on this blog in the past about alternative dispute resolution options such as divorce mediation or a collaborative divorce. These alternatives to the typical divorce process in Pennsylvania may be a good fit for those couples who are able to keep important lines of communication open. A collaborative divorce, in particular, offers couples a means of avoiding litigation and staying out of the court room.

The approach in these types of proceedings is multi-disciplinary. In addition to attorneys, mental health professionals and financial advisors are often utilized. When minor children are involved, some families opt for counselors for the kids as well. The goal is problem solving with the emphasis on all parties working together to achieve a common goal.

The court room is not part of the collaborative approach. The parties agree to refrain from filing motions or otherwise seeking a court’s intervention. In those instances where the parties are simply not able to come to an agreement through this type of approach, they have the right to suspend the effort and go to court. In those instances, though, the attorneys that signed on to help the couple through a collaborative effort typically resign from their representation in favor of other professionals.

This type of divorce proceeding is not for every couple seeking a Pennsylvania divorce. However, it does offer an alternative that is generally free of acrimony and seeks the input of all parties in an effort to achieve a settlement that is fair to everyone and considers the financial and emotional impact of the family unit during the proceedings and after all the paperwork is signed. Those couples who believe they can cooperate to achieve this may find that their divorce experience is far more palatable than they had originally envisioned.

Source: inforum.com, “A civil separation: Collaborative divorce aims for balanced approach,” Tracy Frank, Nov. 27, 2012

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