Although Chicago area courts are in limited operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a process established for handling famliy law cases during this time. Currently the Cook County Courts are scheduled to remain in limited operations through the end of May 2020. It is possible that may be extended. Whether it is extended or not, your case can receive the attention it needs from the Court.
Courts are handling cases: Within a matter of weeks, the court systems moved to virtual platforms in order to conduct pretrial conferences and hearings, and to deal with emergency motions. Depending on the situation and the county, judges, attorneys, and parties meet via Zoom or other technology to have orders entered. In a somewhat unexpected turn of events, certain judges now have even more availability to deal with issues expediently. What does this mean? It means that issues of domestic violence are being handled promptly, divorces are being finalized, and motions are being filed and heard by judges. If you have an issue, now is the time to take action.
Child Support and Maintenance can be modified: If you receive child support or maintenance or if you pay child support or maintenance and you are now facing an unexpected financial loss, including reduction of hours, reduced pay or unemployment, we urge you to call or email our office (email@example.com) to discuss how these unexpected life changes could affect these payments. With issues such as these, time is often critical, as relief is usually measured retroactively to the date that a formal request was placed on file with the court.
Domestic violence victims can apply for orders of protection: Both courts and local governments have been extremely sensitive to cases of domestic violence. In fact, such cases have been given clear priority since the shelter in place orders went into effect. There are measures to protect victims and there is reason to hope that justice will still be carried out. Of course, the current pandemic has made matters more complicated, but do not hesitate to reach out to us, should you find yourself in need of help.
Mediation is available: Mediators have also switched to a virtual platform to continue their vital role of helping negotiate agreements on many different levels. Once agreements are reached, attorneys for both sides can reduce them to writing and have them promptly entered with the courts.
Conclusion: Whether you have an existing case or are contemplating beginning the process of divorce, the Courts can address your needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please feel free to contact my office at 312-884-1529 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your specific situation in a no obligation and confidential consultation.