Illinois Coronavirus Stay-at-Home” Order Impact on Parenting Orders
As you are all aware, the Illinois governor has ordered that starting today at 3:00 p.m., all the residents of Illinois are ordered to stay-at-home. Grocery stores will still be open and so will pharmacies. If you aren’t a first responder or some other emergency personnel, in law enforcement or health care, you are likely one of the people that is ordered to stay in your home. So if you are following the stay-at-home order and remaining in your home, can you go out to exchange your child with the other parent as detailed in your parenting order (Allocation or Custody Judgment)?
The short answer is “yes.”
Gov. J. B. Pritzker states that in his order that complying with court orders is considered essential travel, and all domestic relations attorneys were given a set of orders by our Chief Judge which states that everyone is supposed to comply with their parenting orders. Judge Dickler is also asking everyone to have some common sense in this trying time and not to look for technicalities to keep from having to abide by the orders. (If you send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, I can send you the orders the court has issued.)
Special Circumstances Impacting Compliance with Parenting Orders?
With that said, there are some circumstances that may dictate when you shouldn’t abide by the orders. While the courts do not like people to essentially decide for themselves if they should comply, we are really left with little choice since the courts are closed down. We are allowed to file emergency motions, but we don’t know what is considered an emergency just yet.
Please note that no one has the final authority on the circumstances that I’ll next address. This is new ground for everyone and I’d assume that if a judge is facing your particular circumstance, common sense will be one of the criteria that is applied.
Other Parent Has Been Traveling
First, if the other parent has been traveling, I think it would be safe to say that the parent should self-quarantine and not expect parenting time during that quarantine. Should you make your child available to Skype or do FaceTime, even if your order doesn’t provide for it? Absolutely. Keep in mind that you would not want to go 14 days without seeing your child, so instead of sitting back and figuring out how to keep your child from the other parent, think of how you can make your child available in alternative ways.
You should have had a discussion with your child by now about how serious this situation is, but try not to show panic to your child. I remember the story of a friend of mine told me about the last election. When the president won, their daughter starting crying and saying, “But I don’t want to move to Canada!” The little ears are listening to everything, so don’t leave the TV or radio on all day talking about this. Your child will think the world is going to end. You’d obviously answer questions they have, but try and rein in the panic.
Other Parent Has Been Sick?
If the other parent is sick, then I think you are within your rights to not take your child to the other parent. The last thing anyone wants is to infect your child or have your child come home and infect you or your parents.
What if the other parent doesn’t have a car and uses public transportation? I would think in that instance if the parent cannot pick up the child in a car, then there would be no parenting time. I wouldn’t advise having the child on public transportation right now.
Meeting in Public Places?
What if your parenting order has you meeting in a public place? In that instance, I would communicate with the other parent to just meet at that public place, but not to go in. You can drive up to the other parent’s car and exchange there. No need to go into the public place unless you are scared of the other parent. If you are too scared to be alone with the other parent (domestic violence cases) then the other parent can either pick up curbside at your house, or you could drop off curbside at their house. Those are all reasonable accommodations. If you cannot do any of those and the other parent won’t compromise, then I’d think you could cancel the parenting time rather than expose your child to being in the public place.
Travel By Airplane?
What if the parenting order requires your child to get on a plane? Again, I would think that you wouldn’t send the child. No child should be traveling on a plane right now.
Contact Anderson & Boback for Legal Advice on Parenting Orders
These are just a few of the circumstances that have come up just today. If you have a question regarding the stay-at-home order impact on your parenting time or parenting orders, give me a call at the office 312-715-0870, or contact us by visiting our website illinoislawforyou.com, or email me directly at email@example.com and I’ll try and help you figure it out.