The statewide stay at home executive order has extended the period schools in the state will be closed from March 30 to April 7. With many Illinois families sharing parenting time across the state, some wonder how extended closures caused by the Covid-19 pandemic will affect their parenting agreements.
In general, parents should continue to work together to keep a child’s access to both parents as close to the regular arrangement as possible by following their current order. As a rule of thumb, assume the school calendar is in still in place and parenting arrangements for holidays and recesses such as spring break or weekends will remain the same.
Of course, it is unrealistic to expect that nothing will change – the circumstances surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic are anything but normal. Travel plans may be cancelled and work hours may be cut or increased depending on the parent’s employment. Flexibility is key in these highly unusual times. Parents are encouraged to work together to bridge any childcare gaps when one parent has to work long hours and consider makeup time for a parent who may have to reschedule third time with the children.
Because both parents likely are concerned about a child’s exposure to the virus, they should work together to protect children from unnecessary exposure and develop emergency plans should anyone in the family exhibit symptoms of illness.
Because the pandemic may pose an economic hardship for the short term at least, parents paying child support should continue to make support payments to the best of their abilities. Recipient parents should try to be accommodating under the circumstances knowing the payor parent is obliged to catch up when the economy recovers, but may be struggling temporarily because of a reduction in hours.
In cases where a parent has a change in financial circumstances that are not temporary in nature or if a parenting plan must be modified in the child’s best interest, a modification of orders may be necessary. If you have concerns regarding your parenting time arrangements, changes to parenting time during Covid-19 or child support in the weeks to come, do not hesitate to contact our family law office at 847-495-6000.