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Parenting Time during the Covid-19 Pandemic

By: Josh Schwartz | Posted: 03/23/20 | Filed In: Family Law

There have been a lot of questions regarding whether divorced individuals, or parties going through a divorce or parentage process, can still see their children during the pendency of Governor Pritzker’s Covid-19 Executive Order 8 (Stay at Home Order).  The Stay at Home Order issued on March 20, 2020 provides that the transfer of children pursuant to a court order is essential travel and allowed to occur.

Specifically, Paragraph 14(e) of the Stay at Home Order sets forth that “Essential Travel” shall include “travel required by law enforcement or court order, including to transport children pursuant to a custody agreement.”

While this is an unprecedented time in our society, the ability of a child to see and continue to have parenting time with each parent is imperative and necessary.  This is a fluid and ever changing issue so if there are concerns relating to immunocompromised children, parents, or other family members; one party exhibiting signs of sickness; a party residing with elderly individuals who are at a higher risk of infection; and countless other issues that cannot be expressed in this correspondence, please note that COMMUNICATION WITH THE OTHER PARENT IS IMPERATIVE AND MANDATORY.  If there are extenuating circumstances which prohibit face to face parenting time, the use of FaceTime, video chat, or other technology is a good way to keep all parties in touch.  Keep in mind that reasonableness and working together will very likely be looked upon in a positive manner if issues arise in court at a later date while the failure to be reasonable or work collaboratively will likely create a negative inference.

I have copied the link to Governor Pritzker’s “Stay at Home” Order so that you can review the Order at your convenience.

Many Circuit Clerk offices are still functional, and the courts are allowing limited court activity, with some courts allowing appearance via technology.  While courts may be open for emergency matters, please keep in mind that the bar is set incredibly high for what constitutes an emergency matter.

Please contact Schwartz Wolf & Bernstein LLP at 847.459.4999 for a consultation with respect to any family law issue that you may have.  Our firm is still providing our suite of legal services despite working remotely. We are also offering virtual meetings via ZOOM if you would like to talk directly with an attorney in our office.

Stay safe!