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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Adoption child custody ruling is major fathers’ rights win

When it comes to the rights of fathers toward their children, the American court system sadly lags behind the shift that has taken place within our society. Fathers have become far more involved in the lives of their children in recent decades, and many shoulder as much or more of the responsibilities of childrearing than their wives. However, Pennsylvania fathers still face considerable challenges within the legal system in child custody cases. The recent court victory of one father reminds all others of the need to protect one’s legal interests in relation to their children.

The case involves a drill sergeant in the United States Army. He and his wife welcomed their first child in March 2011. The father was transferred out-of-state just weeks before the birth. The couple was experiencing troubles in their relationship, and once the father was gone, the mother placed their child up for adoption. She worked with the Adoption Center of Choice, and allegedly told the agency that her husband had abandoned the family and had no interest in his child.

The father did not learn the truth about his child’s whereabouts until June 2011. At that time he contacted the adoption agency and demanded that his daughter be returned to him. They ignored his wishes, and went forward with the adoption that was already underway. The father filed a child custody action against the adoptive parents, and prevailed in court. The adoptive parents must return the now 22-month-old child to her father by mid-January.

While the decision is certainly difficult for the couple who adopted and has been raising this little girl, it is also a cautionary tale for all fathers. In today’s ethical climate, there are adoption agencies that are far more focused on making a profit than on protecting the parental rights of biological parents, especially fathers. While this is an unusual child custody case in that it went to court, many fathers are duped out of their parental rights by such agencies every year, in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. Taking quick and aggressive legal action, as exemplified in this case, is the best path to being reunited with one’s child.

Source: sltrib.com, “Utah judge upholds decision to give father custody of his child,” Brooke Adams, Jan. 4, 2013

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