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Possible Child Custody Issues During Stay-at-Home Orders

Posted in Divorce, Family Law, Visitation on Tuesday, May 5th, 2020

Although much of the state is shut down due to COVID-19 concerns, some parts of your life continue on as if nothing has changed. Unfortunately, family and divorce issues do not halt during times of national crisis. In fact, in some circumstances like this one, they can become worse. A stay-at-home order was enacted on March 21st by Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker, giving rise to many questions for parents who are sharing custody of their children. If you have questions about how this order impacts your child custody agreement or need assistance with the issues it imposes upon your family, contact a knowledgeable Illinois child custody lawyer.

Can You Leave Your Home to Exchange Your Children?

Whether you have a designated public meeting place or exchange your children with their other parent at their home, you might be wondering how this order affects your arrangements. Adhering to court orders is considered essential travel, as Governor Pritzker states in his executive order. In light of the governor’s order, the Hon. Grace G. Dickler issued order 2020 D 8 Parenting Time Guidelines. She also asked that everyone use their common sense during this unprecedented time and resist from seeking technicalities to abide by child custody orders.  

As such, you need to adhere to the plans detailed in your parenting order or Allocation of Custody Judgment. If you do not continue to obey the court order, you could face legal consequences.  

Are There Exceptions to Following the Custody Agreement?

In some circumstances, there may be exceptions, such as known or suspected COVID-19 exposure. If you are unsure if your situation would be considered a reason not to stick to the custody arrangement, you need to reach out to an Illinois child custody lawyer. The bottom line is to use common sense. In most cases, that is the criteria that a judge will apply to determine if you were right to not adhere to the arrangement. 

Situations that may warrant a deviation from your normal custody exchanges include:

  • The other parent recently traveled 
  • The child needs to ride on public transportation for the exchange
  • The child needs to take an airplane to get to the other parent’s house
  • The other parent is sick or showing symptoms of coronavirus 

When you do need to change your plans because of these unprecedented times, think of how you can make your child available to the other parent in other ways – for example, with Facetime, Skype, or other methods of communication. The last thing you want to do is have your child go 14 days or the duration of the COVID-19 crisis without seeing their other parent. As hard as it may be, think about ways that you can make your child available to them instead of keeping them from them. Your Illinois child custody attorney can guide you in making these efforts if needed.

Schedule a Consultation with an Experienced Illinois Child Custody Attorney Today

The current state of our nation has brought about many changes. Along with those changes come many questions, some being about how what is going on will impact child custody arrangements. If you have questions about what to do in your specific situation, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a seasoned Illinois child custody attorney. Even with stay-at-home orders in effect, we are here to assist you by telephone, email, or video conferencing. Contact Sabuco, Beck, Hansen & Massino to schedule your legal consultation. 

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