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Creative Ways to Maintain Parenting Time During a Stay-at-Home Order

Posted on in Child Custody

Barrington family law attorneyAs what seems like a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps the nation, resulting in record-breaking infections, hospitalizations, and deaths since the beginning of this crisis, it appears no particular city or state in this country is immune to the ravages of this devastating disease. Chicago and Illinois in general are no exceptions. As such, Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago and Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker both announced recently that new restrictions on public interaction are necessary, including more stay-at-home orders for all nonessential services and workers. If you are a co-parent with a parenting agreement that entitles you or the other parent to child visitation or parenting time rights, you might be concerned about breaking these orders to maintain your time with your children or the possibility of infecting your children in order to continue with visitation. You should not worry too much about this aspect of the orders, though, and here is why. 

Child Visitation Is Considered Essential in Illinois

Similar to last time this happened, court-ordered parenting time with your children is considered essential. This means just as you are permitted under these orders to visit the doctor, the pharmacy, or the grocery store, you can also visit your children if required by the courts, provided you take the proper precautions (social distancing, mask wearing, etc.) 

4 Ideas for Maintaining Your Visitation Routine During Stay-at-Home Orders

It can be difficult to stay safe with the pandemic raging now, worse than it has ever been, and even more so when you are trying to maintain a healthy relationship with your children after a divorce. Soon, we might all need to hunker down in Illinois again and stay inside for a while longer until a vaccine for COVID-19 is developed. This might make child visitation less likely and even less safe. In order to stay compliant with court-ordered parenting time rights and keep the co-parents’ relationships with their children positive, consider these activities:

  1. Video Chats—Video chat with your kids on Zoom, Facetime, Skype, or any other of the many video conferencing apps available on your tablet or other personal computing device. You might not be there in person, but at least you will still be communicating with them frequently.
  2. Virtual Movie Nights—There are features and apps available for Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other streaming services that let you watch movies together with your family and friends from afar. Consider giving that a try for your next family movie night when it is your time to spend with your children.
  3. Online Gaming—Of course, there might be a huge learning curve with this for some parents, but playing video games online with your children can be a great bonding experience. 
  4. Use Your Imagination—This is probably the most important and most resourceful way you and your child can maintain visitation without putting yourselves in too much COVID-19 danger. Come up with creative things to do and creative ways to use your time, all indoors. Maybe you could recreate you and your children’s favorite public activities inside your house or your co-parent’s house, or maybe just come up with fun games to play indoors. Petting zoo? Sure, you have a dog and two cats and your child’s friend has a mouse. Wargames? OK, then, create a fort out of pillows, bedding, and the furniture. Cake bakeoff? You know what to do for that, and it will be delicious. You get the point. If you use your imagination, the possibilities are endless! 

Contact a Barrington IL Family Law Attorney

When you are sorting out your parenting plan and trying to maintain your parenting time, you might need the assistance of a skillful and knowledgeable legal team. To do so, consider contacting a Barrington parenting time lawyer. The talented team at Joseph M. Lucas & Associates, LLC, can help you navigate your divorce case, the parenting plan, and any other family law issues that need a resolution. Give us a call at 847-381-8700 to learn more.

 

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/little-house-calls/202003/parenting-during-covid-19

https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/OECD/Documents/SEL%20toolkit_final%204.28.20.pdf

https://news.wttw.com/2020/04/21/co-parenting-and-cohabiting-during-covid-19

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