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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Grandmother pursues physical custody of granddaughters

The opioid crisis has affected many parents who are in danger of losing their children. In many cases, the grandparents are able to step in and be the parents the children need them to be. However, Pennsylvania grandparents who have taken over parental duties for their children have a fight in front of them while trying to gain physical custody of their grandchildren. One woman is telling her story of her attempt at getting physical custody of her two granddaughters, in hopes that it will help others in her position.

The 59-year-old grandmother, and her daughter and two granddaughters, shared an apartment in order to cut living expenses. A neglect complaint to the Department of Family and Children Services by an unknown individual resulted in the girls, ages 2 and 5, being placed in foster care. The complaint stated the children were not taken for blood testing for potential diseases after hypodermic needles were found in the mother’s bedroom. When the grandmother went to court to get the girls back in her care, she was advised that she would not need the services of an attorney, but she ended up losing her case. A recent supervised visit found the girls in good spirits, but the grandmother could tell they did not display the ebullience they normally possessed.

The grandmother’s situation was covered in her local paper, and an attorney offered his services pro bono. She was recently excited about going to court for a ruling, but the DCF attorney was on vacation and would not be back by the date the court had set. A later date was placed on the docket, and she will find out if that hearing will reveal placement and custody actions or if it is just an initial trial.

The court has a responsibility to children to thoroughly examine all information available in a particular case before it grants physical custody to anyone, blood relation or not. When there is no experienced legal representation to ensure all pertinent information is presented to the court, the outcome may be less than desirable. An attorney in Pennsylvania will work with a client to guarantee the court has the material it needs to make an informed decision that will be in the children’s best interests.

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