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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Grandparents awarded child custody, father kidnaps the 2 boys

Few Pennsylvania readers would argue that the world seems a smaller place in 2013. Sometimes, a parent might try and use that to his or her advantage when confronting issues over child custody. We have written several articles over the past year about international custody disputes, and the attempts of parents in the United States to retrieve their children from abroad. A recent story making national news concerns the plight of two parents who fled from the United States with their two children in the face of an adverse child custody order.

Troubles for the couple reportedly began after the father was arrested for possession of drugs in 2012. Subsequently, he apparently tried to kidnap his sons from a foster home, resulting in the issuance of a warrant authorizing his arrest. A court awarded the maternal grandparents permanent child custody of the two boys, ages four and two. Nevertheless, the father kidnapped the boys from the grandmother’s home at the beginning of April.

From Tampa, where the incident occurred, both the mother and father fled with the children by boat to Cuba. Cuba, of course, is not a signatory to an international treaty about child abductions and also has no extradition agreement in place with our country. Nevertheless, Cuban diplomats arranged for the return of the family to the United States, relying in part on the fact that the family had no ties to the island. The parents were placed in handcuffs on the plane and separated from each other as well as their children. They have since been jailed in Florida on kidnapping and interference with child custody, among other accusations.

One important question is what will happen to the kids in this child custody saga. That will apparently be up to the courts of Louisiana, where the original custody determination was made. Observers expect that the grandparents will once again enjoy full custody of the boys, though visitation issues may surface. In retrospect, the parents may rue their decision to act outside the law. Pennsylvania parents facing international child custody fights may benefit by first gaining an understanding of the applicable laws and procedures in the countries involved.

Source: foxnews.com, “Florida couple accused of kidnapping kids, fleeing to Cuba booked into jail,” April 10, 2013

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