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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Difficult ex-spouses and co-parenting challenges

Some parents in Pittsburgh may face a difficult challenge after divorce. They may be co-parenting with an ex-spouse who is manipulative and creates conflict. Parents may need to learn to step back and set healthy boundaries. It can help if they remember that their focus should be on the children.

Ex-spouses often argue as part of a familiar pattern, and a parent who can identify this pattern could disengage before the argument reaches this point. Parents should keep in mind that they are not obligated to respond quickly to or to answer every communication from the other parent. It can be difficult to stop reacting emotionally, but they can refuse to answer messages that do not deal directly with the children. Parents may want to document all communication, including dates, times and what was discussed. This can be useful if parents need to return to court.

Another option for documentation is to use software or apps that are designed to help divorced parents communicate. Parents may want to use this or specify a single method for communication, such as email. However, there may be cases in which they can simply no longer work with the other parent. Parallel parenting, in which parents cut out virtually all communication, may be an option. The parents may also need to modify the custody agreement.

Negotiating child custody can be a challenge for parents even in an amicable divorce. It is an emotional issue, but parents should stay focused on the best interests of the child. This is the criteria that a family court uses, but parents are often able to negotiate an agreement for child custody and visitation without going into litigation. Courts also work from the assumption that in most cases, children should have the opportunity to build a relationship with both parents.

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