With the recent COVID-19 shutdowns, self-quarantines, and social distancing, here is some useful information about your divorce:
In the Chicago Metro area, all courthouses are closed until further notice, most probably until mid-April at the earliest. This means that judges will be unavailable to hear routine contested matters. Judges will continue to be available for emergency matters. We are told that some judges may conduct phone or video conferences to resolve non-emergency matters, but the procedures are still unclear. Very few matters are considered legal “emergencies,” so while something may seem pressing, it may not be considered an “emergency” for the purposes of this rule. Any court dates currently set will be automatically continued for a status court date after court reopens.
Once things normalize and the courts open, there will likely be a backlog, so normal court scheduling will probably not occur until later this summer.
Judges are currently accepting agreed court orders via email. Most law firms are continuing to work, some remotely and some in person, so we can negotiate agreements despite the partial shutdown. Wherever possible, try to resolve any disputes directly with your spouse. If an agreement can be reached by the two of you, if necessary, we can submit the matter to the Judge as an agreed order.
What To Know
First, even without court availability, if you are in danger, call the police. Use law enforcement officials to address Any immediate safety issues. And courts will remain open to hear orders of protection. All resources are available to protect you from domestic violence or address child safety matters.
We are continuing to work on client cases despite the shutdown. Through email, video conference, phone, and personal meetings, we continue to service our clients, even without full court access. Many issues can be resolved without court involvement through agreement or other creative means (agreed private arbitration, for example).
If you need anything, call us at (630)444-0701.
During this uncertain period, divorces may be informally concluded by executing final agreements (marital settlement and parenting plans). While the divorce itself is not final until the Judge conducts a final prove-up hearing, we can avoid further haggling or changes to terms once the agreement is signed. Once the court reopens, an application can be made to finalize the case at the prove-up hearing.
Certain court deadlines also remain in place. For example, if we receive a request to produce documents, regardless of court availability, we still have deadlines to respond. Concerning court filings, we continue to have the ability to electronically file court documents with the clerk’s office even during this period of reduced court services. This includes new case filings for anyone who wants to get a case on file to start the process.
There is no shutdown of our appellate courts, and they continue to operate fully. All deadlines and scheduled dates remain in full force and effect.
We continue to work our cases during the shutdown. This means we will continue to work with the opposing attorney to exchange information and work towards a resolution. We will continue to send and receive emails and letters regarding your case and will be available for in-person meetings and/or phone conferences. However, due to limited access to the court, without cooperation by your spouse’s attorney, we cannot move the case toward a conclusion at this time.
Everything Is Under Control
Despite the fact that judges are not as accessible to hear routine matters, the court system is generally operational, and we are fully available and actively managing our cases. Depending upon the circumstances, we can obtain assistance from the court for urgent matters. We are taking care of your legal matters so you can focus on yourself and your family’s needs during this stressful time.