The Covid 19 Pandemic has changed our lives as we know it and caused massive confusion as to existing Visitation Agreements. Many parents question whether they need to follow prior Visitation Orders in light of the crisis. They also don’t know how to escape Domestic Violence when sheltering at home with a violent partner.
In Cook County, Illinois, the Chief Judge made clear that Visitation, Parenting Plans and Custody Judgments must be followed despite the Pandemic and despite the fact that the Courts are closed through May 18, 2020 with certain exceptions. Yes, the Shelter in Place Order discourages travel except for food, medicine and other necessities but Divorced or Separated Parents still have to transport their children between homes for Visitation.
The Pandemic has placed severe stress on families with school and day care closures, job losses and parents being forced to work from home. The current Visitation, Parenting Plans and Custody Orders must be followed but parents are encouraged to work out agreements to modify them to reflect the changed circumstances if they can. Any changes can be put into the form of an Agreed Visitation or Custody Order which can be entered remotely by the Judge at this time.
Even if you fear that your child will be infected if he or she leaves your home, that fear alone is not enough to justify ignoring the parenting schedule previously put into place. If you truly fear the other parent is putting the minor child in danger say by exposing him or her to another person who has been diagnosed with Covid 19, you can bring an Emergency Motion which will be heard in person, by video or by phone.
Unfortunately, many families are stuck at home with a substance abuser which has only intensified due to no work and lack of mobility. If you fear that you or child is in danger due to the threat of Domestic Violence whether or not substance abuse is involved, you can bring an Emergency Petition for Order of Protection. The Courts are open to protec victims of Domestic Violence.
Gabrielle S. Davis, PC is open and operating remotely. We are happy to assist you should you need Orders entered regarding Visitation, Domestic Violence or any other pressing Family Law matter during this Crisis.