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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Proposed bill for automatic decision in some child custody cases

Many divorced or separated Pennsylvania fathers feel the court is biased when it comes to child custody. There is a frustration that primary child custody will automatically be granted to the mother simply because she is the mother. Many fathers often believe they are not heard, at times even when the potential for danger exists should the child be placed with the mother. One state is trying to change this perceived bias with the passage of a specific bill.

The bill calls for shared custody by default if the parents cannot come to an acceptable arrangement on their own. It has been promoted as a way to ensure fathers have as much time to spend with their children as the mothers. That state is not the only one considering passing such legislation; nearly half the states across the country have contemplated shared parenting laws.

There are several organizations against an automatic shared custody presumption. Those against the bill say it hinders parents from working cooperatively to attain an agreement and could result in a higher number of custody battles that will end up just costing both parents more money. It also takes the individuality of a situation out of the equation, ultimately bringing the possibility of more harm than good to the child. Some could say such a measure may not be necessary, as one state’s 20-year study of its own records found that there was a decrease in the number of cases in which the mother was granted sole legal custody and that the percentage of shared custody rulings doubled.

When parents just cannot agree, fighting a child custody battle can get frustrating on both sides. Many parents can be overwhelmed to the point they do not know where to turn. An attorney who is thoroughly familiar with the family laws in Pennsylvania will propose a strong strategy that will ensure the best interests of the client’s child are presented to the court.

Source: kansascity.com, “Kansas bill would give divorcing parents equal time by default”, Jonathan Shorman, Jan. 28, 2018

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