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Child Custody and Covid 19

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Courts in Illinois Counties are largely closed to the public with some exceptions but that doesn’t mean that if the parents have a Child Custody Judgment or Allocation Judgment and Parenting Plan, they can refuse to send their child for parenting time with the other parent without a Court Order.

In these extraordinary times, Domestic Relations Courts in Cook County, Illinois have turned to enforcing and entering orders remotely by email.

In Cook County, Illinois, the other parent’s right to see their child under the Child Custody Judgment or what we now call an Allocation Judgment and Parenting Plan continues even if for whatever reason you feel your child should not leave your home and go to the other parent’s residence.

If you believe the other parent is endangering your child, you will need to bring an Emergency Motion before the Cook County Domestic Relations Court. A Judge must decide if the minor child is substantially endangered by the other parent.

For example, if the other parent insists on taking your son or daughter to Florida for a Beach Vacation in the height of this crisis, that might be a reason to bring an Emergency Motion. In fact, a local Cook County Rule explicitly states that parents are strongly encouraged to act in their child’s best interests and not take actions that might endanger the physical health of their child which includes unnecessary travel. 

How do you bring an Domestic Relations Emergency Motion in Cook County, Illinois currently? 

Submit it in writing to the Cook County Courts by email by 4:00 p.m. the day before you want the Judge to decide.

What will the Domestic Relations Judge do with your Motion?

1. Decide if it is really an Emergency.

2. If the Judge doesn’t think it is not an Emergency, the Judge will deny your Motion.

3. If the Judge doesn’t think it is an Emergency but decides that you might benefit from Mediation, he or she will order you two to submit to Mediation for no more than two hours without cost.

4. If the Judge thinks it is an Emergency, he or she will make a decision or ruling immediately or conduct a hearing by Telephone or through Zoom.

5. Only as last resort, will the Judge order you and the other parent to appear in person with your lawyers for a hearing.

Keep in mind though these rules do not apply to Emergency Orders of Protection.

Stay safe! We at Gabrielle S. Davis, PC with offices in Oak Park and Oak Brook are open to assist you in seeking resolution of issues that might arise betweeen you and the other parent in these difficult times.

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