Procedure For Court – COVID

Posted on September 17th, 2021 by Danielle Giannola

Can I get my parenting time taken away for not begin vaccinated against COVID-19?

A child support hearing in August 2021 ended with Judge Shapiro from Cook County issuing a controversial order. The judge temporarily suspended a mother’s parenting time with her 11-year-old son because the mother had not received the COVID-19 vaccine. He stated he would reinstate the parenting time after she provided proof that she had received the vaccination. 

Can a Judge take away my parenting time just because I’m not vaccinated?

The United States Supreme Court has long held that parents have a fundamental right to make decisions regarding their children. Parents have the right to teach their children whatever language they want, send them to a private school, and make other decisions regarding their children. In general, the law presumes that all parents are fit and capable of being parents. 

Because of this presumption, a court will not suspend or restrict a parent’s access to their child without having some reason to do so. In Illinois, the law requires that a court find that allowing a parent to continue to exercise parenting time “would seriously endanger the child’s physical, mental, moral, or emotional health.” To make these findings, there must be a hearing where both parties show up to court. The parent attempting to restrict parenting time must present evidence that the other parent’s behavior will seriously endanger the child. The court then considers the evidence and decides whether or not continuing parenting time is in the best interest of the child.

So in short, no, a Judge cannot take away your parenting time just because you aren’t vaccinated. There needs to be a hearing conducted and it needs to be proven that not being vaccinated could seriously endanger your child. If you think that your children are being seriously endangered by your ex, contact our family law lawyers in Cook County, Illinois today to discuss your options.

What happened in the Cook County case?

Judge Shapiro ultimately rescinded his order restricting parenting rights because the required hearing was never held. The second order, issued a few weeks after the first order, stated “this court hereby VACATES paragraph 3 of its August 11, 2021 order based on the absence of a pleading or hearing on serious endangerment.” No evidence was presented to show that Mom’s behavior posed a serious threat to her child’s well-being, so her parenting time was reinstated. Dad’s lawyer has stated that they will file an emergency motion on the issue, which will lead to the required hearing. If your parenting time has been restricted without a hearing, contact Giannola Legal LLC’s family law lawyers in Cook County, Illinois today for a free consultation and learn how to fight for your rights.


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