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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Early distribution and dividing an IRA in a divorce

When people in Pittsburgh get a divorce, they will need to divide their property. In some cases, this can be complex. For example, people who have an IRA may have already begun taking distributions from it despite not being 59 1/2 years old. If this is for certain approved reasons, the person will not have to pay a 10% penalty. However, it is unclear whether dividing the account in a divorce is considered a modification.

The reason it is important to determine this is because if a person is getting a 72(t) distribution and there is a modification to the IRA, the person will then have to pay a retroactive penalty on all distributions. While there is no clear guidance from the IRS in this particular circumstance, its regulations do state that if a nontaxable portion of the account is transferred, this is considered a modification. This is what happens if an individual gives part of the IRA to a spouse in a divorce.

However, when individual taxpayers have sought what are known as private letter rulings, or PLRs, the IRS has determined that this is not considered a modification. Any individual PLR is not supposed to be taken as a general rule, but seeking one is expensive. Therefore, people in this situation might want to speak to legal and financial advisers.

There can be other financial complexities while dividing property during a divorce. For example, the couple may decide that they want to sell their home and split the proceeds. However, the house may need some repairs or renovation before it can go on the market, and it is necessary to decide how to pay for this. The couple may also need to decide what they will do and who will pay for upkeep while waiting on the house to sell.

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