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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Could states take steps to safeguard visitation rights?

Many Pennsylvania noncustodial parents understand the struggles of being a parent after a divorce. Visitation with the children can seem like water in a desert for a parent that wants to remain as much a part of their lives as possible. Unfortunately, short of taking the custodial parent back to court on contempt allegations, few safeguards exist to ensure that noncustodial parents get to spend time with their children.

The legislature of one south central state is considering a law that would make it easier to hold custodial parents accountable if court-ordered visitation is denied to the noncustodial parent. First, the custodial parent would be responsible for providing a copy of the court-ordered schedule outlining visitation to noncustodial parents who are current on their child support. Failure to provide the schedule would result in a fine.

Further, if a noncustodial parent is not granted the visitation as outlined in the schedule, that parent may notify the court by filing a designated form. Proponents of the Oklahoma bill point out that repercussions exist for non-payment of child support, which is often touted as being an integral part of the parenting process. It could be argued that just as important, if not more so, is the right of a child to have access to both parents on a regular basis. After all, the child should not have to suffer because his or her parents did not feel they could be together any longer.

Even if the bill is passed, withholding visitation of the noncustodial parent without a valid reason could have consequences for the custodial parent that may require another trip to family court. It remains to be seen if this type of legislation would have any place in custody and support matters here in Pennsylvania. Regardless, noncustodial parents may still seek relief through the courts to fight for their rights to see their children if they are denied court-ordered visitation.

Source: kfor.com, Noncustodial visitation rights bill moves to House, Bailey Woolum, Feb. 19, 2014

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