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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Admission of evidence in a Pennsylvania custody dispute

In states such as Pennsylvania that have no-fault divorce, except in certain circumstances, courts don’t care about the parties’ behavior or what led them to divorce court. In a custody dispute, however, a person’s character, personal choices and bad behavior could indeed make a difference. Courts often have to decide what information is admissible in a custody hearing and what is not.

Unfortunately, this can be particularly frustrating when one side is allowed to give evidence and the other is not. For instance, evidence of the mother’s prior, legal abortion was permitted. He claims the fact that the mother had the abortion makes her unfit to raise the child involved in the current custody litigation.

On the other hand, she was not allowed to introduce evidence that her ex-husband frequented massage parlors, where he allegedly solicited and paid for sex. He is said to have admitted doing so to a forensic psychologist. The judge’s decisions regarding what information is admissible and what is not was characterized as “scandalous and outrageous” by the mother’s attorney.

It may be some time before the outcome of this custody dispute is known. It is possible for one party to appeal a judge’s decision regarding the admission of evidence. In some cases, an appellate court may reverse the lower court judge’s decision. Despite everything, the goal of family courts around the country and here in Pennsylvania is to make a decision that will put the best interests of the children first after careful consideration of all competent and relevant evidence no matter what that evidence may be.

Source: opposingviews.com, Woman’s Abortion Used Against Her in Child Custody Case, But Not Man’s Massage Parlor Visits, Michael Allen, Oct. 18, 2013

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