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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New bill reduces Pennsylvania’s divorce waiting period

A new bill aims to reduce Pennsylvania’s current two-year waiting period for couples with divorce disputes.

For many people getting a divorce, waiting for the ordeal to be over can be the most difficult part. This is even more of a challenge in states that have a lengthy minimum waiting period before a divorce can be finalized. Pennsylvania is one of these states. With a divorce rate of 9.2 percent, Pennsylvania ranks as one of the 10 states with the lowest divorce rates in the country, according to Statistic Brain. Even so, many couples with disputes feel like they should not have to endure a lengthy waiting period and other legal hurdles before being able to end a marriage.

New bill offers hope of faster resolution

The recent introduction of a new state bill may allow divorcing couples to get the process over with more quickly, reports Philly.com. House Bill 380 was passed on November 9 and is expected to go through a Senate vote soon. If it succeeds, the new law will lower the mandatory waiting period for a no-fault divorce in Pennsylvania to one year.

As it stands now, divorcing couples in most counties in Pennsylvania have to wait two years before being able to go through with their divorce if they are unable to agree on their disputes. Couples may be able to establish grounds for divorce within three months if they both agree on an uncontested divorce option. However, it is not unusual for one or both spouses to disagree on their divorce terms, for numerous reasons that may include the following:

  • Neither spouse can agree on child custody or support matters.
  • One spouse is dependent on the financial support of the other.
  • One spouse is angry or bitter and wants to cause the other pain.
  • Divorce is not an option for one spouse, and he or she wants to save the marriage.

In fact, if one partner wishes to reconcile, this may trigger mandated counseling sessions in addition to the two-year waiting period.

Impact on children

There are important reasons a shorter waiting period can be beneficial for families. Divorce has a significant impact on children, according to Psychology Today. Younger children may have difficulty accepting their parents’ split and become clingier and more dependent. Older children may act out in anger and have difficulty in school. The faster a divorce is over with, the sooner parents can help their children begin the healing process and establish new routines and traditions that can give them a sense of stability.

A lengthy waiting period for a divorce tends to exacerbate instability in many ways. Property division is not officially finalized until the divorce is final, as well as custody arrangements and financial matters such as spousal support. Allowing divorcing couples to address their disputes earlier can allow them to put this difficult chapter behind them. An experienced family law attorney may be able to help spouses negotiate divorce terms they can agree with.