In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, our Judges have been doing a great job of addressing the legal needs of the family law community. They have moved swiftly to modify court procedures. They are ensuring that emergency issues are addressed and that cases advance as quickly as possible. We are here to answer all of your questions regarding your case in the wake of COVID-19.

Are courts still open?

Not in the traditional sense. Courts are still open for in-person hearings for temporary restraining orders, emergency matters, and orders of protection. Any issues outside of these three categories must be handled remotely. Our Judges are making themselves available via Zoom for conferences to try to resolve matters falling outside of these categories. It is anticipated that we will begin having remote hearings to resolve any issues in these categories as well.

Can I file for divorce during the pandemic?

Yes. Our clerk is still open and accepting divorce filings. As stated above, any temporary issues may be resolved in-person (retraining orders, emergency matters, and orders of protection). Other issues may be resolved remotely.

What is considered an “emergency matter”?

An emergency matter is one where there is immediate and irreparable injury, loss or damage that will result if the relief is not granted, and that there exists no adequate remedy at law. The designation of a matter as an “emergency” is determined to be an extraordinary measure and shall be heard at the discretion of the Court. During the pandemic, Kane County Judges are rotating time on the bench, and thus, your emergency may be heard by whichever Judge is on the bench that day.

Can my kids stay at my house during the pandemic?

Without a court order stating otherwise, all existing Parenting Orders/Agreements remain in full force and must be followed.

We just filed a case, and we don’t have a parenting schedule, what should we do?

In any matter where there is no order regarding parenting time, the parents should follow the status quo for parenting time and decision making until they have a court order allocating specific parenting time and decision making powers. In the meantime, you could consider using an online mediator who can help you negotiate an interim or final agreement.

My ex and I have a parenting order, but he/she is withholding the kids from me. What do I do?

If the other parent is withholding the children from you, your attorney will likely need to file a Petition to Enforce Parenting Time. Proper notice will be provided, and your attorney will schedule a remote conference or hearing with the Judge to repair the parenting time.

What are the consequences of withholding my ex’s parenting time?

With respect to parenting issues during the pandemic, parties found to be acting in bad faith shall be subject to sanctions including but not limited to reimbursements of attorney’s fees.

Can we finalize our divorce while courts are closed?

Yes, our courts created an affidavit, which, when signed, takes the place of appearing in person to finalize your divorce. Once you come to an agreement, your attorney will send all final documents to the Judge who will, if approved, sign, enter and finalize your divorce.

These are unprecedented times, but life goes on—and so do your legal needs. Our judges have accommodated real-world limitations and are operating as efficiently as possible.

If you have any questions or need any assistance, contact me, Mollie Peskind, at Mollie@peskindlaw.com or call me at 630-444-0701.