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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Using mediation to resolve child custody issues

As many in Pennsylvania know, parents do not always see eye-to-eye when it comes to their children. If a couple is in the middle of a divorce, resolving child custody issues can be a challenge. When the parties are not able to agree, mediation may be a good alternative to litigation.

Preparing for mediation could help the process go more smoothly. It may be helpful to make a list of any issues where there is conflict to help keep the mediation moving in the right direction. It can be easy to get off the track otherwise. Additionally, it is often beneficial for each party to write down what they expect to get out of mediation, which could take the form of a proposed custody and visitation arrangement.

Each parent may consider sharing his or her list and proposed agreement with the other prior to mediation. It is possible that the parties could be closer to a resolution that they believed. It is even possible that certain points could be agreed upon prior to mediation. The fewer outstanding issues the parties have, the smoother the process may be.

Each parent has the right to be heard, and neither party should sign a child custody agreement with which he or she does not agree. If mediation does not resolve the issues, the matter can be taken to the Pennsylvania courts. In the end, it is the best interests of the children that matter, and a parent should feel free to avail him- or herself of every avenue available to achieve that goal.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Divorce Confidential: Preparing for Child Custody Mediation“, Caroline Choi, May 22, 2014

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