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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Pennsylvania child custody disputes helped by modern technology

Modern technology has made its impact on divorce and child custody in Pennsylvania. The seminal movie about child custody from the 1970s, Kramer vs. Kramer, portrayed the struggles of parents in an environment where the mother was typically awarded child custody, and the father was relegated to weekend walks in the park and ice cream cones. Now, courts across the country are more focused on meaningful shared custody. Such an arrangement virtually compels parents to remain in communication, even if they are less than enthusiastic about doing so.

Technological advances have grown to play an important part in this dynamic. Instead of having to endure tense conversations and/or meetings with one’s ex spouse over visitation and custody matters, couples can communicate by text message, email or Skype. Some couples make use of Google calendar or similar applications in order to keep a joint schedule of visitations and important events for the children.

Of course, it is possible to be unpleasant or uncooperative by text message as well, but these forms of written communication provide two important advantages. First, the fact that the messages are typically written instead of oral provides a little distance that can lessen the potential for animosity spilling over into negative confrontations. Second, in those instances where the parties continue to disagree, the record that is made of their communications may provide important evidence should it be necessary to return to court to seek a modification of an existing court order.

By reducing the possibility of negative interactions in front of the children, these computer age alternatives offer a means of keeping the parents’ personal feelings at bay while concentrating on the needs of the children. Of course, not every Pennsylvania child custody disagreement can be solved by this form of communication. In some instances, the responsible solution may be to seek the guidance of a judge to fashion an arrangement that is truly in the best interests of the children. In doing so, any records of written communications, of the lack thereof, may help the court make the right decision.

Source: The New York Times, “Kramer.com vs. Kramer.com,” Pamela Paul, Nov. 23, 2012

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