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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Receiving Social Security benefits after divorce

Some Pennsylvania residents may not know that after 10 years of marriage or more, one party may be eligible to receive Social Security benefits based on the other party’s work record in the event the marriage ends. At least two years after the divorce is final and after both parties turn 62 years of age, an application for benefits can be made. The potential receipt of these benefits is something that the parties may consider as they contemplate going forward with divorce proceedings.

Waiting until the federal retirement age, which is currently 66, could mean a larger amount of benefits. The Social Security Administration assumes that the receiving party wants to take the higher amount of benefits. However, it is possible to receive a lower benefit as a spouse and wait until age 70 to begin taking his or her own benefit after it appreciates in value. This could mean thousands in potential benefits for the recipient.

However, if the spouse receiving benefits through an ex-spouse’s work record remarries, those benefits stop. After one year, however, the spouse becomes eligible to share in his or her new spouse’s benefits. If a subsequent marriage lasts another 10 years, an individual may choose between the higher of the two benefits.

The timing of a Pennsylvania divorce filing is crucial when it comes to being eligible for the receipt of Social Security benefits based on the work record of the other spouse. Couples who are close to the 10-year mark may benefit from waiting to file. Even if neither party is currently eligible to receive Social Security benefits, meeting this first — and most important — criteria now will make receiving a spousal benefit possible in the future.

Source: Fox Business, “5 Ways Divorce Can Impact Your Social Security Benefits”, , May 13, 2014

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