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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International child custody dispute pending in federal court

Pennsylvania parents confronting international child custody issues may be interested in a federal trial just underway in a northeastern state. The child custody dispute got its start in 2006 when a Turkish court granted a divorce to a father and also awarded him custody of the two young children of the marriage. The mother, an American citizen, subsequently took the daughters and left the country, enlisting the help of a mercenary to whom her parents paid $70,000. After several years in hiding, she was granted the opportunity to return to the United States with the children and has since lived here with them.

The father contacted the U.S. Department of State as well as Interpol shortly after the mother fled. However, he did not know where the mother and children were until the year after she settled in the northeast. Once their location was discovered, the father began proceedings for the return of the children pursuant to The International Child Abduction Convention of The Hague.

The lawsuit is underway at a federal court in Concord, New Hampshire. The mother, a native of Michigan, settled in New Hampshire with the children in 2010. The judge presiding over the proceedings has already noted that the mother clearly acted outside the law. That does not, however, necessarily mean the father will prevail. If the court determines that sending the children back to Turkey will do them more harm than good, the judge could decide to allow them to remain in this country. He could also rule that the two girls must be returned to the father in Turkey.

Those parents in Pennsylvania that are confronting international child custody issues likely already realize the complexities involved. Each case is unique and often turns on the competing laws and procedures of the countries involved. The best first approach is surely to become familiar with the applicable laws in both jurisdictions, as well as the potential applicability of The International Child Abduction Convention of The Hague, a treaty that applies only to countries that are signatories. These types of legal proceedings often require professional assistance to properly navigate the appropriate avenues of legal relief.

Source: ctpost.com, “NH trial to begin in international custody case,” Jan. 22, 2013

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