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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Many Pennsylvania families awaiting end to child custody disputes

In 2010, the Pennsylvania legislature revised the state’s laws regarding child custody. It is now necessary for an evaluation to be performed if the parent who wants custody of a child — or anyone living with that parent — has a criminal record. This requirement has created a backlog, and some families are waiting a year to have their child custody case heard.

This addition to the custody act may have been well intentioned, but it seems to be causing more problems than solutions for many families. This is particularly troublesome to families who do not have the financial resources to speed up the process or attend mediation. However, some families are caught in this backlog because they have not been able to reach an agreement on their own.

Of course, no one wants to see a child go into the home of someone with a violent criminal record, but some criminal records are benign and do not necessarily need to be a factor in whether that parent receives custody of the child. Children need stability and structure. Giving children these things is not always possible when a custody battle rages on for as long as it appears to in Philadelphia right now. Cities and towns across Pennsylvania may be experiencing similar backlogs.

If possible, this delay in a resolution of a child custody dispute by the courts could be avoided. Parents who are able could put aside their differences with each other and negotiate a custody arrangement with a mediator. The process may be faster, which would let everyone involved — especially the children — get on with their lives as soon as possible.

Source: CBS Philadelphia, “Yearlong Backlog in Philadelphia Child Custody Cases“, Pat Loeb, May 8, 2014

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