How Will the Coronavirus Pandemic Affect Child Custody Issues?
Even when certain issues, such as child custody, have been finalized in a divorce settlement, parents and children may experience changes that affect these matters. That may never be more true than during these uncertain times in which we deal with the threat of the coronavirus. First and foremost, parents should know that the Governor of Illinois has stated specifically that parents are allowed to transport children to carry out court-ordered parenting time schedules. After all, families need each other more than ever right now, and children will need to maintain close relationships with both parents. However, there are some uncertainties and safety issues that parents may need to be aware of when addressing child custody.
Steps to take When a Child Is Endangered
While many of the courthouses in Illinois have closed and will not reopen until the coronavirus crisis dies down, courts will be available to deal with emergency situations. If a parent feels that allowing their child to spend time with the other parent would put the child in danger, they may pursue an order of protection that will ensure that they and their child will be safe from harm. As soon as courts are back in session, a parent may file a petition to modify the child custody order.
Responding When Someone Is Experiencing Symptoms
Some parents may come across the situation in which they, their child, or the other parent is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. In the event that anyone is experiencing symptoms, the parenting time schedule may need to be adjusted to minimize the possibility of infection. In these cases, parents will want to work together to reach an agreement that will protect their children’s best interests. This may mean temporarily foregoing parenting time, and the loss of time with the child may be made up at a later date once the infected party has made a full recovery.
In the event that the child or one of the parents has come down with the virus, requiring changes to scheduled parenting time, parents will still want to find a way to connect with their child and maintain a close relationship. In some cases, this may be done through online video conferencing, email, text messages, or over the phone. After the courts reconvene, it is important to remember that if there are any disagreements between parents over child custody, each parent’s willingness to foster a relationship between their child and the other parent will be taken into consideration. Refusing to allow any interaction between a parent and a child now could have consequences in the future.
Contact Our Inverness Child Custody Lawyer
It is important to remember that while these may be uncertain times we are living in, they are only temporary. Parents must continue to abide by their child custody orders. If you have any safety concerns or believe that your divorce agreement should be modified, you should speak to an attorney. Skilled Barrington divorce attorney Nicholas W. Richardson can provide the advice and legal help you need to ensure that your children’s best interests are protected. Call our office at 847.873.6741 to arrange a free consultation.