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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Grandparents’ rights a priority of the opioid crisis

The opioid crisis continues to rage in Pennsylvania. While the addicts are the most physically affected by the horrific disease of addiction, they are not its only victims. Children of addicts are also adversely affected by the loss of their parents, either to overdose or the parents’ inability to care for them while dealing with their addiction. Grandparents are acting as caregivers in greater numbers every year. Grandparents’ rights have subsequently become a major issue.

Pennsylvania is making moves to improve the situation for grandfamilies, as they have come to be called. Grandparents do not typically expect to find themselves in the position of primary caregiver to their grandchildren. The opioid crisis has changed that, however. In an effort to assist with the situation, the state has passed two laws intended to help grandparents who find themselves caring for young children.

Act 88 provides for grandparents, or other relatives, to have custody of grandchildren while parents are in treatment. Act 89 provides a service that helps grandparents, or other relatives providing care, to understand their rights and be aware of services that are available to help. According to an estimate by Pennsylvania’s House Children and Youth Committee, the state saves approximately $1 billion per year in foster care expenses when grandparents care for children over placing the children in foster care.

It is widely accepted that it is often in the best interest of the child to be with family members. In terms of the addiction crisis, the addict can better focus on recovery knowing that his or her child is safe. However, taking on the burden of raising a child can be emotionally and financially stressful in Pennsylvania. An experienced family law attorney may be able to help one navigate grandparents’ rights that are now in effect and others that may come about as the state continues to address this issue.

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