October 20, 2020

Volume X, Number 294

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Do You Have to Abide by your Parenting Order During Illinois’ “Stay Home” Order?

Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker issued an Executive Order starting today Saturday, March 21st at 5:00 p.m., all residents of Illinois are ordered to stay home in to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.  Executive Order in Response to COVID-19 (COVID-19 EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 8)  requires individuals not employed at an “essential business” or operations to work remotely from home if they can and limit travel to only the essential activities listed in the order, including. normal daily activities like going to grocery stores, pharmacies, doctor’s offices, hospitals, etc. The executive order only allows employees to travel to work if they work for an essential business or operation as defined by the order.

So if you are ordered to be in your home, can you go out to exchange your child with the other parent as detailed in your parenting order (Allocation of Custody Judgment)?

The short answer is “yes.”  Governor Pritzker states in his executive order that complying with court orders is considered essential travel.  In Chicago and the rest of Cook county, General Order 2020 D 8 Parenting Time Guidelines was issued by the Hon. Grace G. Dickler the presiding judge of the Domestic Relations Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County provides some direction.   Judge Dickler also asked everyone to have some common sense in this trying time and not to look for technicalities to keep from having to abide by the various orders issued by the courts and state government.   

Based on the opinion of the author, there are some circumstances which may dictate when you shouldn’t abide by the state and local court orders. While the courts do not like people to essentially decide for themselves if they should comply, we are really left with little choice since the courts are closed down.  Parties are allowed to file emergency motions, but we don’t know what is considered an emergency just yet. I’d assume that if a judge is facing your particular circumstance, common sense will be one of the criteria that is applied. 

First, if the other parent has been traveling, I think it would be safe to say that the recently traveling parent should self-quarantine and not expect parenting time during that quarantine.  Should you make your child available to Skype or do Facetime, even if your order doesn’t provide for it?  Absolutely.  Keep in mind that you would not want to go 14 days without seeing your child, so instead of sitting back and figuring out how to keep your child from the other parent, think of how you can make your child available in alternative ways.

Have a  discussion with your child about how serious this situation is, but try not to show panic to your child.  Answer questions your child may have, but try and rein in the panic.

If the other parent is sick, then I think you are within your rights to not take your child to the other parent.  The last thing anyone wants is to infect your child or have your child come home and infect you or other parties.

What if the other parent doesn’t have a car and uses public transportation?  I would think in that instance if the parent cannot pick up the child in a car, then there would be no parenting time.  I wouldn’t advise having the child on public transportation right now.

What if your parenting order has you meeting in a public place?  In that instance, I would communicate with the other parent to just meet at that public place, but not to go in.  You can drive up to the other parent’s car and exchange the child there.  No need to go into the public place unless you are scared of the other parent.  If you are too scared to be alone with the other parent (domestic violence cases) then the other parent can either pick up curbside at your house, or you could drop off curbside at their house.  Those are all reasonable accommodations.  If you cannot do any of those and the other parent won’t compromise, then I’d think you could cancel the parenting time rather than expose your child to being in the public place.

What if the parenting order requires your child to get on a plane?  Again, I would think that you wouldn’t send the child.  No child should be traveling on a plane right now.

This posting is for educational purposes only to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this website you understand that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and the National Law Review and/or the author, and the opinions stated herein are the sole opinions of the author and do not reflect the views or opinions of the National Law Review or any of its affiliates.

Anderson & Boback Copyright © 2020 All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 81


About this Author

Kimberly Anderson family law attorney in Chicago at Anderson & Boback
Founding Partner

Kimberly Anderson is the founding partner of Anderson & Boback, with vast experience as a prior prosecutor, family lawyer, and respected leader in the Illinois legal community having served as Chair over both the Chicago Bar Association and the Illinois State Bar Association's Family Law Section Councils. She has been recognized as a Super Lawyer, which only 5% of Illinois lawyers qualify for, by her peers every year since 2008.

She enjoys advocating for people’s rights, with a long history of satisfied clients and successful settlements. Her achievements include fighting for...