COVID-19 and the restrictions caused by this pandemic are creating additional problems for many parents who are subject to the terms of court-ordered parenting time schedules. We at Gordon & Perlut, LLC are here to help through “Zoom” video conferencing to assist parents in these difficult times.
The biggest challenge is that many parents are concerned about exchanging children for parenting time during travel bans, and worry that it is unsafe for children to travel between two different households. While parents are trying to argue that the stay-at-home order in Illinois is a basis for keeping the children at one parent’s house, this is not true. Governor Pritzker’s executive order specifically states “essential travel” includes “travel required by law enforcement or court order, including to transport children pursuant to a custody agreement.”
One situation we have seen developing over the past few weeks is simply a difference in how strict each parent is in enforcing the “stay in place” mandate. While most parents interpret the rule strictly and restrict any type of meetings outside of the family home and allow no one inside (such as friends), others are not as strict. We have already had to file an emergency Petition where one parent was allowing their child to see his friends, thus exposing himself and others to the virus in a clear violation of the Governor’s order.
Obviously, there are always exceptions, and a different set of facts and circumstances may warrant a different requirement. For example, if one parent or household member has been exposed to the virus then you may need to file an emergency motion to stop parenting time if there is no agreement between the parents. Therefore, when in doubt consult an attorney. However, absent any unusual circumstances, parenting schedules are to remain in effect.
Mediation is always an option to assist your family while access to court is limited. With all of the stress and anxiety around COVID, many parents in separate households are having difficulty managing the situation. This only creates more nervousness for your children; they see what is going on and pick up the tension. Mediation can help you immediately address these concerns while courts are closed. We have already found through Zoom mediations that most parents want to resolve disputes during this crisis, but don’t know how. Using one of our skilled mediators could be the key to helping your family manage during this difficult time.
f you need help, call us to assist you in mediating your visitation/parenting time issues. One of the experienced mediators at our firm can speak with you today about your situation and options. Contact Gordon & Perlut, LLC to learn more about the services we provide in the Chicago area.