COVID-19 and Your Legal Matter - FAQs

COVID-19 and your legal matter - FAQs

Family Law – Do I Have to Send / Do I get my Children for Parenting Time as Usual?

Answer: Yes, Absent Proof of Substantial Endangerment.
The Governor’s Executive Order in Response to COVID-19 (COVID-19 Executive Order No. 08) provides that parenting time is to continue as ordered. https://www2.illinois.gov/…/21288-Gov._Pritzker_Stay_at_Hom….

Paragraph 14 states as follows:

“Essential Travel. For the purposes of this Executive Order, Essential Travel includes travel for any of the following purposes. Individuals engaged in any Essential Travel must comply with all Social Distancing Requirements as defined in this Section.

b. Travel to care for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons.

e. Travel required by law enforcement or court order, including to transport children pursuant to a custody agreement.”

In summary: absent an emergency, the Courts are NOT addressing any issues with respect to this topic. Parents must comply with their current court ordered schedules unless there is compelling reason to believe, or proof, that the other parent is infected / was exposed to COVID-19.

A party seeking to modify or suspend parenting time as ordered will be responsible for filing an emergency motion. Emergency motions to suspend or deny parenting time must contain very specific and detailed allegations that parenting time will expose the minor child to an actual illness, confirmed direct exposure to someone who is ill, or other typical allegations of endangerment. Attorneys/clients should expect that emergency motions will be denied absent clearly articulated allegations of a potential for actual exposure to illness and endangerment. Members of the legal community have been warned that the filing of emergency motions during this time is subject to likely sanctions if not deemed to be an emergency.

Suggestions:
If one parent is willing to forego scheduled physical parenting time, agree to Skype/FaceTime "dinners" with the other parent. Agree to provide the other parent "make-up time" once the epidemic passes - extra weekends or more time during the summer. Use this as an opportunity to come together to do what you both believe is best for your child / children. Do not use this as an opportunity to unilaterally curtail the other parent's time with your child out of spite. Remember, this isn't about you or your ex. It's about your child / children and doing what's best for them. Study after study shows that maximum time with both parents is best for children.

Criminal Matters – I’m Supposed to Have a Court Date Coming up. Is it changing?

Answer: Yes. *see note on DUI cases below
The Illinois courts are closed except for emergencies and limited criminal matters. If you have a court date on a traffic criminal matter during March or April, your date will be rescheduled by the Circuit Clerk's Office. Our clients will receive a call and/or email update with new information as it becomes available.

By Illinois Supreme Court Administrative Order, Speedy Trial periods are being tolled (paused) for 60 days. This means that if you are scheduled for bench or jury trial, and you have made a Demand pursuant to statute, there are 60 days (March 27 – May 26, 2020) that will not be calculated towards the statutory demand period. Regardless of whether you have made a Demand, at this time, all trials scheduled through April are being reset. Clients will receive updates on their cases as information becomes available.

*DUI Defendants: The Courts are still conducting hearings on Petitions to Rescind Statutory Summary Suspensions. There are also talks of a state-wide stay on the start of suspension periods, but nothing has been confirmed. Our office will be in touch directly with respect to your individual case and the matter of your license status.

General Matters – Where can I Find out What’s Happening on my Case and What my new Court Date is?

Answer: Will County litigants and defendants can check the status of their case on the Will County Circuit Clerk's website here: https://www.circuitclerkofwillcounty.com/Public…/Case-Lookup

Please be aware that the Circuit Clerk’s Office is overwhelmed with the massive task of rescheduling Court dates and notifying litigants. It may take several days or weeks for all information to be updated and reflected on their website.

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