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Lombard family law attorneyMany divorced or separated parents often struggle with their new reality of limited time with their children. This is quite often the case for a parent who has been granted a relatively lesser amount of parenting time compared to the other. While you may understand logically that creating an equal parenting time schedule is not truly possible in most cases, knowing that does not make it any easier to be away from your children. There is a way, though, to include extra possible parenting time in your agreement with your ex. It is called the right of first refusal and, when utilized properly, this right can offer both parents and the child substantial benefits.

Understanding First Refusal

When you have precious little time with your child, you may be looking for any and all possible ways to see him or her more often. Changing permanent arrangement or schedule can be rather complicated, but including the right of first refusal is fairly simple. When the right of first refusal is part of your parenting agreement, it means that your child’s other parent is required to offer you the chance to care for the child when he or she would otherwise need to make other childcare arrangements. In short, this means additional parenting time opportunities for you. As the name implies, you have the right to refuse the opportunity, but if parenting time is at a premium, may be unlikely to turn down such a chance.

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Lombard family law attorneyOnce your divorce is finalized, you and your family embark on new journeys and a brand new way of life. When you and your ex-spouse share children, arrangements for visitation (parenting time) and the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) are made, resulting in new routines and a lifestyle that you and your children were not previously accustomed to before the divorce. While these new arrangements can take some getting used to, they often result in happier, healthier homes and habits for the whole family.

Non-Parent Involvement

During the divorce process, and often through mediation, you are expected create a parenting plan for how you will continue to raise your children and make decisions for your children based on their best interest. Outside influences must also be taken into consideration, such as grandparents, mentors, and close family friends.

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access to your child, Lombard family law attorneyWe all get angry from time to time and, often, we want to some sort of action against the person or entity who made us angry. This feeling is especially true for parents who have already managed to cope with the harsh realities of a divorce, separation, or break-up. If you are a recently-divorced parent, you are probably all too familiar with how it feels. You and your child’s other parent divorced for a reason—many of them, most likely—and there is a good chance that he or she will continue to behave in ways that make you very upset. At times, you will probably be tempted to keep him or her away from your child. While you are certainly entitled to your feelings, it is important to keep in mind that inappropriately restricting the other parent’s access to your child can create problems, not only for the other parent but for you as well.

Child Support and Parenting Time

Under Illinois law, child support considerations are made, in large part, without regard to how much parenting time each parent is allocated. From a subjective standpoint, of course, a parent who is more intimately involved with the child’s life may be granted a little more leeway in meeting his or obligations compared to a completely absent parent. Regardless, you do not have the right to dictate the other parent’s parenting time even if he or she is behind on child support. You have the right to petition the court for enforcement actions or to legally restrict parenting time, but if you deny the other parent access without the court’s approval, your own parental responsibilities and parenting time could be jeopardized.

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grandparents, visitation, Lombard family law attorneysAs you raised your own children, you probably looked forward to someday becoming a grandparent. Children often treasure the relationships with their grandparents—as you most likely remember from your childhood—and there is nothing quite like time with a grandchild to brighten a grandparent’s day. Unfortunately, many family situations deteriorate so badly that grandparents are unable to continue the relationships with their grandchildren that they so greatly value. The law in Illinois, however, does provide grandparents in certain situations with at least a glimmer of hope.

Presumed Best Interest of the Child

If you, as a grandparent, are being denied access to your grandchild by your child or the other parent, the law begins with the presumption that the child’s parents have made such a decision in the child’s best interests. A parent has the right to choose who should and should not be in regular contact with his or her child, as long as such decisions are reasonable and are not causing harm to the child. If the child is being negatively affected by the lack of a relationship with you, you may be able to convince a court to grant you visitation privileges.

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