With children now home from school and the state under a shelter in place order, you may be wondering how the COVID-19 situation will impact your court ordered parenting time.  The current “stay at home” order for the State of IL mandates that nonessential businesses close and prevents residents from any nonessential travel.  But how does this effect parenting time exchanges? Pursuant to the executive order, transporting children to and from parenting time is considered essential travel.

Although parenting time orders remain in effect unless specifically altered, there are many new things you may be considering.

As a parent, the safety and health of your children is your top priority.  This means that parents may need to work with their ex to adapt and work together to ensure parenting time occurs, while also keeping children safe and abiding by the COVID-19 guidelines.  This may mean agreeing to change parenting times based on working from home schedules, having fewer, but more extended, periods of parenting time to avoid children travelling back and forth too much, agreeing to not let the children see other people during parenting time, and more.  Increased face time, phone calls, and other creative ways to interact with children may be necessary if one parent is quarantined or your children are immunocompromised.

If you are able to effectively communicate with the other parent, you should work together to develop a plan to cover any gap in the school year due to coronavirus, especially since most childcare resources are unavailable.  If both parents work similar hours, perhaps one could switch their hours or begin working from home.  If you are typically the primary parent, but your schedule does not permit you to work from home, it may make sense for the other parent to provide childcare on a temporary basis.  If you are unable to effectively communicate with the other parent, now is the time to contact an attorney.

In addition, now that the Illinois State Board of Education has implemented e-learning, parents will need to work together to ensure the child is up to date on assignments and assist in the learning process.  Prior to parenting time exchanges, parents should make sure the child’s materials and learning devices are packed, and that the other parent has the necessary tools to assist in e-learning during their parenting time.

If you find yourself in a situation where you are concerned about your child’s health or safety, contact an attorney. Although most cases have been continued, the courts are still hearing emergency issues, giving parents recourse during these times of uncertainty in the event the best interest of the child is not being maintained.  We can help. Call us today at 618-692-6656 to schedule an appointment and talk about your specific situation.

If you have more questions about the divorce process, contact Sherer Law Offices at (618) 692-6656 , for more information.

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