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Maximize child custody time with a right to first refusal clause

The primary concern for many Illinois parents who divorce might be the threat of losing a loving relationship with his or her child. Not all people realize that there are ways to maximize the time spent with their children. However, the necessary steps must be taken at the time of negotiating child custody.

Adding a clause that gives the parent the right of first refusal can prevent the child being left in the care of others while the noncustodial parent is available. The clause is a provision that can be added to the child custody order to force the custodial parent to give the other parent the option of taking the child rather than a sitter or a family member. However, it can work both ways, and if the noncustodial parent has an unavoidable obligation when it is his or her time with the child, the other parent must have the first option.

The list of circumstances in which this would apply is endless, and examples include any time when the parent who is scheduled to have the child cannot do it. On those occasions, he or she must give the other parent the option to care for the child before arranging alternative care. The custodial parent might have to work extended hours, and if the other parent is available to spend extra time with the children during those hours, an order of first refusal will require the custodial parent to give the noncustodial parent first option. He or she may be found in contempt of court if the other parent is not allowed that choice.

Negotiations for child custody in a divorce can be complicated and need to be handled with skill. For this reason, many divorcing parents in Illinois make sure they have the support and guidance of an experienced family law attorney to point out the ways in which they can maximize their time with their children. A lawyer can make sure every available step is taken to maintain a loving parent-child relationship during and after divorce proceedings.

Source:, "What is Right of First Refusal During Child Custody?", Cathy Meyer, Accessed on Oct. 13, 2017

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Courtney ∙ Clark Law, P.C.
104 South Charles Street
Belleville, IL 62220

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