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How Does Custody Work in Illinois When a Child is Sick?

Posted by Dominick R. Dolci | Nov 25, 2019 | 0 Comments

It's that time of year when everyone starts coughing. Sometimes a fever sets in. Bones get achy. And you simply don't want to get out of bed, especially if it is a child who doesn't need to get out of bed. But while your child is resting, the day comes to change homes – you are divorced and share child custody with the other parent. You know you don't want to move the child from home to home in the child's present condition, but are you authorized legally to keep the child at home until he or she feels better?

Here are some considerations you should keep in mind when your child is sick and you share physical custody. 

Can you keep a sick child home in Illinois when it is time to change custody?

An answer to this question is not easy to come by – it all depends on the parenting plan and the parents, including how well the parents get along and work with each other. Parenting Plans establish when a child is with which parent, and so when the day comes to change homes and the child is unwell, parents should be flexible. Here are some things to consider if you get into a situation where a child is sick but is supposed to change homes.

  • Some parents use the following standard: if a child is well enough to go to school, then he or she is well enough to swap homes when the time comes. You may want to discuss this with the other parent and come to an agreement that you will abide by this standard as well. 
  • Both parents are responsible to care for the child when the child is sick. Part of this may be foregoing bringing the child to the other home if the child is too sick and uncomfortable or becomes cranky about the move. 
  • The child may also have an opinion on where he or she may want to reside while recovering from an illness. The older the child, the more important this may be. Some parents may simply be more nurturing and attentive while others are less so. On the other hand, changing the environment when the day comes to switch parents could be just what the doctor ordered.

It's best that when a child is sick, regardless of where the child remains or goes, parents must communicate with each other. Is the child on any medication? When is the next dosage? Is the child getting better or worse? When exchanging, these details are particularly important. But even if the exchange doesn't happen, it's important to advise the other parent of the child's condition.

And if a parent does have to give up time so the child can get better, then parents can discuss making up that lost time.

What can you do to prevent these types of situations?

If you want to make sure you never have to worry about this matter, especially if you are currently thinking of a divorce or drawing up a parenting plan, then you should consider inserting reasonable illness contingencies into the plan.

An experienced family law attorney in DuPage County or Cook County can help make sure the parenting plan is comprehensive and drafted properly to address these and other important custody issues so you avoid complications or conflicts later. 

About the Author

Dominick R. Dolci

Managing Partner Dominick R. Dolci focuses his practice on criminal defense litigation and civil litigation. Dom graduated from John Marshall law school in 1990. He began his legal training in the Cook County States Attorneys Office where he worked at 26th and California. He then transferred ...


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