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 could lose grandchildren in custody dispute

The opioid crisis affects those who have been ensnared by their addiction as well as their family members who also have to live with consequences. The past few years have shown that more parents are raising the children of their children who face substance abuse struggles. However, many state laws may make a custody dispute on the part of the grandparent an uphill battle. Pennsylvania grandparents may be interested in the custody dispute of a grandmother who desperately wants to keep her two grandchildren.

When the children were infants, both parents voluntarily relinquished custody of them until they were no longer minors. Their mother’s mother willingly chose to care for the children, thinking they would be in her care until they turned 18. They are now 12 and 13, and the father, who lives over 1,000 miles away from the grandmother, has decided he wants custody of them. Their mother is physically unable to care for them but is able to see them when she visits her mother’s house.

The children do not want to move, as they have friends and are involved in activities they would have to leave behind if they were to move. The therapist they have seen over the years has even written a letter recommending the children stay in the only home they have known. However, the grandmother chose to represent herself during her court appearance, and the judge ruled against her and granted custody to the father. The judge explained the state gives preference to the parents unless they are found to be unfit, which he did not in this case.

However, the judge will allow the children to stay with their grandmother until the divorce agreement between their parents is settled. That agreement says the children will stay in the state unless the parents agree otherwise or unless there is a court order requiring them to move. The grandmother says she could go to jail if she does not give the children to their father, but she is willing to accept that consequence.

Until changes in laws are made, many grandparents may face this same outcome. Each case is different, but removing children from the only home they have ever known can be traumatic. A Pennsylvania family law attorney will ensure a client’s rights are represented in a contentious custody dispute.            

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