Shelter-in-Place, Quarantine and Parenting Time
What is Shelter-in-Place?
The State of Illinois is taking progressive measures to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most recently, all state residents have been ordered to stay at home starting 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 21, 2020 through April 7, 2020. There are a few exceptions to the Order. These are limited to individuals working for essential businesses or participating in essential activities.
A comprehensive list of the essential activities can be accessed from the State of Illinois COVID Response Site at https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/coronavirus/Pages/default.aspx.
What about parenting time?
The recent stay at home order immediately raised many questions for parents of children who split time between households. The most common question was whether travel for parenting time exchanges would violate the stay at home order.
Thankfully, the applicable executive order includes a section on what types of travel are essential. Travel required by a court order is deemed necessary, which includes travel for custody exchanges. There is also an exemption provided for those traveling to return home across state lines. So, those parents who have court orders for parenting time or visitation, either temporary or long-term, entered by the Court can confidently transport their children between parenting time exchanges. The stay at home order will not excuse a parent from complying with court ordered parenting time.
What Should You Do?
- Consider the health and well-being of yourself, your co-parent, and your child(ren).
- Are any residents of either household more susceptible to contracting COVID-19, such as elderly adults or those with compromised immune systems?
- Is there well-founded cause for concern that a negative impact could outweigh the positives of your children spending time with their other parent?
- Initiate a discussion with your co-parent.
- Discuss whether the current schedule will continue to work during the stay at home order.
- Consider your reasons for your position and be prepared to facilitate calm, rational and reasonable discussion with your co-parent.
- Share information with each other about how the children are coping and how you will answer their questions.
- Make a plan.
- What will you do while the stay at home order is in place?
- How will you work together to home school the children?
- What will you say to the kids to help them feel secure during this time?
- Will you resume the usual routine after the pandemic has settled and the stay at home order is lifted?
When this is over…
While the length of time the COVID-19 pandemic and the lasting effect it will have on our society remains largely unknown, we do know that this will pass. Normal life will eventually resume, and we will all return to our daily lives. In the meantime, if you need help navigating your parenting time schedule, reach out to an attorney to address the lingering issues.
Contact us if you are encountering parenting time or visitation problems during this Coronavirus pandemic. We are available to meet via telephone or video conferencing.
Content contained on this site is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. You should consult an attorney of your choosing to discuss your particular case and to obtain legal advice specific to your situation.