5 Family Law Questions About the Coronavirus Pandemic

There is so much information now about the Coronavirus, that it is hard to wade through it all. With so many news stories, some true and some that stretch that truth, it is hard to know what is correct. As a Chicago family law attorneys, we are fielding many calls about the coronavirus and how it affects our clients’ cases. These are some of the most common questions I receive:

1. What is happening to my divorce or family law case now that the Courts are closed?

You can file for divorce now and you can also have your emergencies heard by the court. Mediation is still possible, but again, it is done differently now. The court’s hearing or the mediations could be done with a phone call or conducted through Zoom.

In sum, the courts are up and operating, and issuing rulings on a wide range of matters.

2. My child should stay at home. Do I have to transfer my child to the other parent for parenting time during the coronavirus pandemic?

This issue becomes more complicated when the other parent lives out of state. If your child used to get on a plane to go for parenting time, this is more worrisome for parents. If you cannot convince the other parent to accept some kind of make up time, then you’ll be required to follow the parenting order you have in place.

The courts where I have had a hearing on this very issue, are not persuaded that parenting time should be canceled if it involves extensive travel. All you can do is work with the other parent to do what is in your child’s best interests.

3. I received $500 from the government for my child. Do I have to share it with the other parent?

4. Does the coronavirus pandemic affect my child support obligation?

If there is a child support order and you do not file a motion asking to change the amount owed, you will have to pay the full amount. The court’s hands will be tied if you do not file a motion. While having a conversation with your spouse about your new financial situation is important, it will not keep you from owing the entire amount at a later time if you do not file the motion.

The court is likely going to allow you to pay less money in child support if your employment position has changed. Make sure you make the court aware of the change in your employment.

5. The other parent isn’t practicing social distancing. What can I do?

The law in Illinois presumes that parents act in their child’s best interest. You have to overcome that presumption with facts if you go to court. A parent’s admission that the child was out playing with kids in the neighborhood could be enough evidence to hold that parent accountable. If you are receiving information from your child about events that your child is involved in, that becomes harder since your child is now the witness.

Speak to your family lawyer about these events. Sometimes a letter to your spouse’s lawyer can resolve matters, but other times you will need the court to intervene.

In closing, we try to have our clients address parenting concerns with the other parent. We encourage them to try and work things out. Sometimes we will suggest mediation and sometimes we will suggest court intervention. It is important though to talk these things out with your family law attorney when no agreement is reached. All the staff at Anderson & Boback hopes that you are weathering this pandemic without too much turmoil and remember we are here for you, in whatever manner is needed to help you through this coronavirus crisis.

THIS ARTICLE WAS PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED AT: https://illinoislawforyou.com/coronavirus/5-family-law-faq-coronavirus-pandemic/

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