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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Can mediation work in my divorce?

If you’re dreading the courtroom proceedings of divorce, you’re not alone–many people wish there was an alternative to traditional litigated divorce. And in fact, there is. Mediation provides a different forum for divorce negotiations, involving a third-party mediator who helps forge agreement outside the courtroom. There are many benefits to this approach, but whether it’s the right one for you depends on several factors. 

What Is Mediation?

Mediation is a process for divorcing couples that relies on a neutral third party instead of a judge. The mediator’s role is to listen to each spouse and work towards an agreement on the divorce terms. Sometimes a couple will decide to meet with a mediator alone, but often they’ll decide to have their attorneys present, since the mediator cannot offer legal advice. Mediation can cover the entire range of issues involved in a divorce, including:

  • Child custody
  • Alimony
  • Child support
  • Asset division
  • Debts

Benefits

Mediation has several benefits over a litigated courtroom divorce.

  • It’s cheaper than litigated divorce.
  • It’s easier on your children.
  • It takes less time, since it doesn’t depend on caseloads in the courtroom.
  • Compliance with settlement terms is more likely.
  • Terms are tailored to the couple.
  • It preserves a working relationship between the couple, which will have benefits in later dealings.
  • Confidentiality–all proceedings are completely private.

Complicating Factors

Mediation is often successful, even in cases that involve significant conflict between spouses, such as mistrust caused by infidelity. If both parties are willing to work, mediation can be an option. However, some factors can make mediation untenable. These include:

  • An extreme power imbalance between spouses
  • One spouse truly doesn’t care about the other’s welfare
  • A history of emotional or physical abuse
  • Unwillingness to participate in good faith
  • A fundamental lack of trust between spouses

If one or more of the factors above are present, you should consult an experienced attorney to determine whether to pursue mediation. It could still be a possibility, but a seasoned advocate will be able to help you determine that.

No one wants to go through the pain of a divorce, even the spouse who chooses to end the marriage. The questions involved are complex, murky and sometimes embarrassing. However, for couples that maintain a baseline of trust and respect for one another, mediation can help avoid the worst experiences of courtroom divorce.

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