With COVID-19 and social distancing orders still duly present throughout the U.S., especially in Illinois, many families have spent months together in close-quarters. For some, this time in quarantine has brought spouses and their children closer than ever. For others, the time together has only reaffirmed their thoughts of filing for divorce. Because the pandemic came on so suddenly, with businesses closing their doors at a moment’s notice, those who were considering divorce or were even in the middle of divorce proceedings may have had to put their plans on hold for the past few months.
Luckily, attorneys were deemed essential workers and many law firms remained open, either physically or virtually, to continue working with clients. Courthouses, including Kane County courts, closed for a period of time to protect their employees and avoid infecting those coming in and out of the courthouse for their legal proceedings. As Illinois public health orders have progressed from one phase to the next, the Kane County courthouses have reopened at limited capacity.
The 16th Judicial Circuit, also known as the Kane County court system, announced its first phase of reopening on June 1, 2020. Though the court reopened on that date, all jury trials were suspended until August 3, 2020. This date has now come and gone, but most family court cases are continuing to happen on a remote basis. These remote proceedings are occurring over Zoom, with each spouse’s attorney present and a judge logged in as well. Common divorce proceedings and parenting determinations are being performed over Zoom, but more contentious proceedings, such as domestic violence cases, may be brought back to the courtroom.