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How Has COVID-19 Affected Illinois Divorce Orders?

Kane County divorce attorney child supportCOVID-19 caused a global health crisis in addition to an economic downturn. In Illinois, non-essential businesses closed to stop the spread of the contagious virus. As a result, many people found themselves out of work or facing reduced hours and income. Depending on the industry, some companies have permitted their employees to work remotely from home. Similarly, many schools have switched to e-learning, with teachers and students participating online through video conferencing apps such as Zoom or Google Meets. With everyone adjusting to this new normal, divorced parents may be wondering if they can modify their current divorce orders for child support and child custody and visitation (now referred to as the allocation of parenting time and decision-making). Under Illinois law, it is possible to request changes to these types of orders in certain situations.

Child Support and Spousal Support Orders

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), a divorce is finalized once a judge issues the official court order, which is commonly known as the decree or judgment. This legal document sets forth asset and property division, spousal maintenance (alimony), and child support. However, after a significant amount of time, the orders may not be appropriate or adequate for the current situation. For instance, if one parent suffers a job loss due to COVID-19, that will likely cause a substantial change in income. If the unemployed parent is making child support or spousal maintenance payments to the other parent, he or she can petition the court for a temporary order modification to reduce that amount. In addition, if the unemployed parent is the recipient of child support and/or maintenance, then that parent may petition the court for an increase in support.

Child Custody Orders and Parenting Time Schedules

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, most essential employees still have to work outside of the home, including those in the healthcare, government, and construction fields. However, if an essential employee has younger children who typically attend daycare during the day, many childcare facilities might be closed. If the other parent is furloughed or working remotely and can manage to have the children stay at his or her home during the day, both parents may mutually agree to temporarily change their parenting time schedule. In some cases, a parent who suddenly finds himself or herself out of work may find new employment out of state and then relocate, which could impact the existing allocation of parenting time. As for any order that involves children, a judge will always base his or her decisions on what is in the children’s best interests when making decisions regarding an order for modification.

It is important to note that as part of Illinois’ COVID-19 executive orders, transporting children to and from each parent’s house for parenting time is classified as essential travel. However, if any family or household member is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, he or she should follow the recommended CDC guidelines. This means, notifying the other parent and possibly quarantining for 10 days depending on his or her risk exposure and underlying health issues.

Contact a McHenry County Divorce Attorney

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted our way of life for the past year. If you have questions about modifying your current divorce agreement or orders, The Thomas Law Office can help. Our skilled legal team provides high-quality legal representation with personal attention. Our compassionate Kane County divorce lawyer will work with you to find solutions that fit your unique situation. To learn more about our services and how we can assist you, call us today at 847-426-7990 to schedule a private consultation.

Sources:

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=2086&ChapterID=59&SeqStart=5200000&SeqEnd=6000000

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=2086&ChapterID=59

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/075000050k510.htm

 

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