The coronavirus pandemic continues to plague the United States. Many states, including Illinois, have issued orders for people to stay at home except for essential trips out. Divorced parents who are co-parenting face extensive challenges. One co-parent is concerned because the other co-parent took their child out of the United States, believing that the United States is not safe. Other issues include one or both parents being laid off due to the coronavirus.
As the number of confirmed cases and deaths from the virus increases at an exponential rate, peoples’ stress levels increase, as well. Schools are closed and children and parents are required to share enclosed spaces.
Divorced Parents Face Unique Challenges Due to Coronavirus
Parents are trying to work from home and meet their deadlines while making sure their children meet all of their school requirements. Additionally, many people have been furloughed or fired due to coronavirus. Financial stress and emotional stress are running high among parents in Illinois. This difficult combination of stressors can be particularly challenging for divorced or separated parents who are co-parenting during the coronavirus pandemic.
There is No Pandemic Clause in Illinois Divorce Agreements
Divorce agreements and child custody agreements do not address pandemics or national emergencies such as the coronavirus. Most child custody agreement schedules are incredibly specific. Many Illinois custody agreements state exactly when parents need to exchange their child or children as well as contingencies for snow days, birthdays, and school holidays. However, none of them cover national emergencies in which one or both parents become infected with a highly contagious virus and the limited access to the Court system at this time presents a very real issue for parents.
Challenges Co-Parents Face Due to Coronavirus
The difficult scenarios that Illinois co-parents may face are numerous. What happens if both parents become ill with coronavirus? What happens if the child becomes ill with coronavirus and must remain in quarantine for at least two weeks? What happens when one parent is in quarantine and unable to take the child for his or her regular custody visitation, but the other parent does not want the child to be exposed until the quarantine is over?
What happens when the parent who is paying child support loses his or her job? A parent’s small business may need to close, shutting down his or her income and necessitating a modification of the child support agreement.
What Should Co-Parents Do During Coronavirus?
Most of these issues could be addressed by the co-parents in court. Typically, one parent would request a modification of the child custody agreement or the child support agreement. Unfortunately, many Illinois courts are closed right now, or they are only hearing essential orders.
If you need to modify your child support or child custody agreement urgently, the best thing you can do is speak to an experienced family law attorney. At Glasgow & Olsson, our law firm can help guide you through this extremely difficult time. We will help you legally resolve your urgent child custody or child support matter. Contact our Cook County family law firm to schedule your initial consultation over the phone as soon as possible.