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parenting time for divorced dadsIf you’re a dad who is going through a divorce, you’re likely to be worried about spending less time with your kids. Unfortunately, this is an issue that is going to be unavoidable, since the time that your children spend with one parent is time that they won’t be with the other parent. You’ll need to adjust to not being with your kids every day, but you’ll also want to make sure you can spend time with them at every available opportunity. One way you can do so is by making sure your parenting agreement includes a “right of first refusal” clause.

What Is the Right of First Refusal?

Your parenting agreement will include detailed information about when your children will spend parenting time with you and your ex-spouse. A daily schedule will specify the days and times when your kids will be with each parent, and your agreement will also cover holidays, school vacations, and any other days where you will deviate from the normal schedule. However, there may be some days when either you or your ex will not be able to have parenting time with your kids as scheduled. These situations may be addressed by including a “right of first refusal” in your agreement.

The right of first refusal is a clause stating that when one parent will be unable to provide care for your children during their scheduled parenting time, they will be required to contact the other parent and see if they are available to watch the children before making other arrangements, such as hiring a babysitter or having kids stay with relatives. Essentially, the other parent will be given the first opportunity to have their children stay with them, and other arrangements can only be made if the parent refuses to take the children during that time.

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dad's divorce and child custody attorneyWhen it comes to divorce, many dads worry that they face an uphill battle. Culturally, mothers are often considered to be the parents who are most concerned with childcare and household responsibilities. This means that even when a dad plays an equal role in raising his children, he may need to fight against the assumption the mother should have primary custody. To make matters worse, a father may worry that he will be considered a deadbeat due to his absence from his children’s lives.

Whether you are currently going through the divorce process or have completed your divorce, you’ll want to make sure that you can continue to be the father your children deserve. The last thing you want is for your children to feel that you are not there when they need you. To avoid the possibility of being considered a deadbeat dad, you’ll want to do the following:

  • Pay child support on time - The most common reason that dads are labeled deadbeats is that they don’t pay child support as required. Even if you think that it’s unfair that a large percentage of your income will be going to your ex, remember that the money is being used to provide for your kids’ needs. If you don’t pay child support on time or in full, you will still be required to pay the full amount owed, along with interest on late payments. Failure to pay child support could also cause you to be held in contempt of court, which could lead to a variety of consequences, including time in prison. If you have lost your job or experienced other financial issues that affect your ability to pay, you’ll want to bring this matter to the court’s attention immediately to ensure that you won’t be penalized.

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Protecting fathers’ rights to parenting time during the COVID-19 pandemicUPDATE: As of March 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to affect people throughout the United States. While vaccines are being rolled out, the majority of people have not yet been vaccinated, and people are still taking steps to protect the safety of themselves and their family members, including staying at home when possible and wearing masks and following social distancing practices while in public. In many cases where parents are divorcing or divorced, families have settled into routines that allow children to spend reasonable amounts of time with both parents while ensuring that everyone's health and safety is protected.

However, some parents have encountered legal issues related to disputes over child custody during the pandemic. These parents will want to understand that most states have issued orders stating that parents should follow existing child custody arrangements whenever possible, and parents continue to have the right to reasonable parenting time with their children. While some state courts are still operating at limited capacity for in-person hearings, most courts will hear emergency matters, which may include cases involving a parent's violation of their court-ordered child custody agreements. Even if a case cannot be heard in person, many courts are also providing virtual hearings held using videoconferencing tools, ensuring that parents can address child-related issues quickly and effectively. If you need to address unreasonable actions by your ex-spouse or co-parent, or if you believe changes to your parenting agreement are needed to protect your children's safety, you will want to work with a child custody attorney to ensure that these matters are resolved properly during the COVID-19 crisis.


COVID-19 has affected the lives of just about everyone in the United States. Even if you or members of your family have not been personally affected by a coronavirus infection, you will still need to deal with school closures, shelter-in-place orders, and social distancing restrictions. This can all be stressful enough, especially if government-mandated business closures have affected your ability to work, but matters may become even worse if you are involved in a child custody dispute during this time. In these cases, you will want to be sure to understand how to protect your rights and the legal measures you can take to address these issues.

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divorced dad dating with kidsIf you are a dad who has gone through a divorce or is currently in the middle of the divorce process, you may still be working to pick up the pieces and determine how to move forward with your life. At some point, you’re probably going to be ready to start dating again. While finding a new partner and building a relationship can be a positive development in your life, it can also add some additional complications. One of the largest concerns you will face is when you can introduce your new partner to your kids. This can be a tricky situation to handle, and by approaching it the right way, you can help your children adjust to the changes in their lives while ensuring that you can maintain a positive relationship with them in the years to come.

Choosing the Right Time for an Introduction

After you begin a new relationship, you’ll probably want to spend as much time with your new partner as possible, and you may be looking to include them in all the parts of your life that are important to you, including your parenting time with your children. However, you don’t want to rush things, and it’s often best to ease yourself, your kids, and your partner into these changes.

Before telling your kids that you’re dating or making plans to have them meet your partner, you’ll want to make sure that this is a relationship that will last. You should probably be dating for at least a few months before you consider having your kids meet your partner, and you should make sure you both understand that the relationship is serious and exclusive. The two of you should discuss your plans and desires for your relationship, and you should both be ready to take the next step and begin building new relationships with your kids. Depending on your relationship with your ex, you may also want to inform them that you will be introducing a new person into your kids’ lives, which can help avoid conflict or other parenting issues in the future.

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divorced dad child custody lawyerAs a father, divorce can be a frightening prospect, since it will most likely mean that you will have less time with your children, and you may worry about whether you will be able to be as involved in your kids’ lives as you were during your marriage. However, ending your marriage does not mean that you will have to take on a secondary parental role. As you and your spouse determine how you will handle the custody of your kids, you should be sure to understand the steps you can take to protect your parental rights. By making sure you will be able to share in parental responsibilities, you can continue to be a fully involved parent and the great dad your kids need.

Sharing Custody and Parenting Time

In the stereotypical divorce, the mother is awarded primary custody of the couple’s children, and the father is relegated to only seeing kids on a limited basis, such as every other weekend. However, this idea is a relic of the past based on old attitudes toward families and parenting. Many of today’s marriages are different than they were in previous generations, and when both parents are closely involved and play equal roles in their children’s lives, child custody arrangements should reflect this.

While the divorce laws are different in each state, in most cases, they do not favor either mothers or fathers when addressing child custody. Instead, they usually state that all decisions that are made should be based on what is in the children’s best interests. If you and your spouse worked together to make decisions about how your children should be raised, you should both continue to have the right to make these decisions following your divorce, and you should both have reasonable amounts of parenting time with your kids.

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holiday parenting time family law attorneyFor many people, the holiday season is an opportunity to travel to visit with family members or enjoy vacation activities. Divorced parents may make travel plans for the days that their children are out of school, and this can be a great opportunity to make new memories. However, many of these plans have been upended in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. If you are a single father who is planning to travel with your kids over the holidays, or if you are concerned about how your ex’s travel plans may affect your children’s safety, you should be sure to understand the best ways to address these issues.

Reviewing Your Parenting Agreement

Before making any travel plans, you should be sure to understand your rights and requirements as defined in the parenting agreement created during your divorce. This agreement should specify the days that your children will be spending with you during the holidays, and understanding your parenting time schedule during this time can ensure that you will be able to plan properly. If either you or your ex makes travel arrangements that do not fit into your holiday parenting time schedule, you may agree to make adjustments as needed. By being flexible, you can help your children enjoy their holiday time with both parents while ensuring that you have the time you deserve with them.

Your parenting agreement will also specify any rules that you and your ex must follow when traveling with your children. For example, a parent may be required to notify the other parent before they travel out of state with their children, provide an itinerary for a trip, and relay contact information at different times and locations.

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dads divorce law parenting agreementEven though divorce can be a difficult and emotional process, parents will usually want to do everything they can to protect their children and make sure their needs will be met both during the divorce process and in the years to come. If you and your ex can agree to work together as co-parents to do what is best for your children, this can help you avoid a great deal of stress and conflict. A well-crafted parenting agreement is key to successful co-parenting, and you will want to make sure your agreement addresses your family’s needs and protects your rights as a father.

Elements of a Good Parenting Agreement

Your parenting agreement, which may also be referred to as a parenting plan, should clearly describe how you and your ex will handle matters related to your children going forward. It should include terms addressing:

  • Legal custody - Your agreement should fully detail how you and your ex will share in making decisions about how your children will be raised. Some states refer to legal custody as the “allocation of parental responsibilities,” and different areas of responsibility may be addressed, such as education, healthcare, and religion. You should be sure your parenting plan specifies each parent’s rights and responsibilities in making these decisions for your children.

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St. Charles father’s rights attorneyToday’s fathers are often much more involved in raising their children than those from previous generations. Married couples or unmarried parents are more likely to share in family responsibilities, and in many cases, both partners work full-time jobs, make decisions together, and cooperate on chores and household tasks. Unlike the stereotypical dads of the past who left most child-related duties up to moms, modern fathers will often play a vital role in caring for their children.

Unfortunately, when married parents choose to get a divorce or unmarried parents decide to separate, many dads feel that their role as a parent is minimized, and they may struggle with concerns that they will not be able to continue to be closely involved in their children’s lives. After years of changing diapers, making sure kids are properly fed and clothed, attending children’s activities and doctor’s appointments, helping with homework, and myriad other parental responsibilities, fathers will want to keep up this level of involvement and be the great parent their children deserve.

If you are getting divorced, or if you are an unmarried parent who needs to address the custody of your children, you will want to be sure you take the right steps to protect your father’s rights. By working with a Kane County family law attorney, you can gain a better understanding of your rights as a parent, the decisions you will need to make, and the best ways to reach an outcome that will provide for your children’s best interests. Some of the issues that you may need to consider include:

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Parenting plan modifications during the coronavirus pandemicThe coronavirus pandemic has thrown nearly everyone’s lives into disarray. While most people have had to cope with difficulties related to stay-at-home orders, changing work schedules, or unemployment, many of these adjustments have been particularly hard for parents due to school closures and the need to care for children while working from home. If you are a divorced parent, you might be struggling to balance your responsibilities while also following your court-ordered parenting time schedule, and you may be wondering whether you can make temporary changes to your parenting arrangements to address your needs during this difficult time. 

Temporary Modifications to Parenting Agreements

In most cases, you are allowed to modify your parenting plan temporarily, as long as you and the other parent agree on the changes that you plan to make. Ideally, you’ll want to work together with your ex-spouse and make reasonable accommodations to meet each other’s needs. For instance, if you are working from home while your ex is required to go into the office, you may agree that your kids will stay with you during the day, even if this would not normally be part of your scheduled parenting time.

Even though you’re encouraged to cooperate with your ex during this time and find ways you can make changes that will meet each other’s needs, it’s a good idea to keep a record of your communications and make sure you have a written agreement in place for the temporary modifications you will be making. This can help you avoid problems if disputes arise in the future, and you will be able to show that you acted reasonably and did your best to find solutions that work for everyone.

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Summer vacation parenting time tips for single fathersWhether you are currently going through divorce, were recently divorced, or have been a single father for some time, you’ve probably struggled with the events that have affected our lives in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has upended our personal and professional lives due to stay-at-home orders, economic difficulties, and school closures. Now, just as summer vacation is about to begin for many children, the wave of Black Lives Matter protests across the country has led to outbreaks of violence and curfews in many cities. Whether you had made plans for the summer with your kids or were simply planning to enjoy spending time with them, events may be throwing everything into confusion, and you may be unsure about how to proceed.

Depending on your parenting agreement, you may have more time with your kids over the summer, and you will want to make the most of your parenting time during these months. Here are a few tips to follow as you make your summer plans:

  1. Find ways to show solidarity - Your kids may express a desire to participate in protests, or they may want to do what they can to express and share their beliefs and opinions. While it may be appropriate to take older children to protests or demonstrations, you should be sure to discuss this with the other parent first to address any safety concerns. You will also want to have a plan for staying together, avoiding any violence, and getting home safely. As an alternative, you could work with your kids to find ways you can show support from home, such as posting pictures or videos on social media, writing messages in chalk on your sidewalk, or donating to causes you believe in.

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Parenting time tips for divorced fathersFor many divorced fathers, transitioning from married life to single fatherhood can be difficult, and this change can be hard on children too. If you and your kids are used to spending time together every day, you might struggle to adjust to being with them only part of the time. However, this doesn’t mean your relationship with your kids will need to suffer. By focusing on your children’s needs and staying connected with them, you can make sure the parenting time you have is a positive experience for everyone. Here are some tips getting the most out of the time you spend with your children after your divorce:

  1. Maintain consistency - Kids do best when they have regular schedules and routines in their daily lives. While you and your ex won’t necessarily need to follow the same schedules in both of your homes, you can do your best to stay consistent in how you handle things when your kids are with you. Your children will be comfortable in your home if they know when they can expect to eat meals, do homework, go to bed, get up in the morning, or any other regular activities.

  2. Keep kids informed - You can help your kids transition between your and your ex’s households by making sure they know which days they will be at which parent’s home. Using a calendar to mark the days they will spend at each home will make sure they know what to expect, and giving them reminders before they go to the other parent’s home can make sure they are prepared to make the transition. If there will be any changes to the parenting time schedule, tell your kids in advance so they are not disappointed about these adjustments.

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Dads and child-related disputes during divorceThe divorce process is pretty rough for everyone, but it can be especially difficult for dads. No matter how involved you are in your kids’ lives, you’re probably going to feel like you’re at a disadvantage, since people tend to think of moms as the parents who are most focused on taking care of children. Fortunately, the divorce laws in most states recognize that both parents are equally important, and this means you should be able to share in the responsibility of raising your kids and have reasonable amounts of parenting time with them.

During your divorce, you and your ex will work to create a parenting agreement that will address all legal issues related to your children. If you can’t reach an agreement on some or all of these issues, your disputes may need to be settled in court, where a judge will make decisions for you based on what is in your kids’ best interests. To ensure that your parental rights will be protected when these decisions are made, you’ll want to take the following steps:

 

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Interference with parenting time after divorce

As a divorced dad, your time with your kids is precious. While you were once a constant presence in their lives, this usually isn’t possible following divorce, because they will be dividing their time between you and their mom. Adjusting to new parenting schedules can sometimes be difficult, but once you have settled in to your post-divorce lives, you can get used to the new arrangements and make the most of the time you have together. Whether you and your ex share equal custody or not, your time with your kids will be limited, and you’ll want to make sure to address anything that would limit or take away that time. If your ex has deliberately withheld parenting time or otherwise interfered with your visitation, you should take immediate action to protect your parental rights and avoid causing harm to your children.

Interference With Parenting Time Is Illegal in Most Cases

Unfortunately, your relationship with your ex might not be especially rosy after your divorce. The two of you are likely still feeling the emotional fallout of your breakup, and even if you have done your best to put this conflict behind you, disputes may still flare up, leading either of you to attempt to hurt the other. One way ex-spouses may try to inflict harm is by refusing to allow their former partner to see their kids or otherwise interfering with their parenting time. 

While withholding of parenting time is sometimes overt, with one parent stating that the other parent is not allowed to see or spend time with the kids, interference with visitation is often much more subtle. Your ex may regularly be late when dropping off your kids, or she may invite herself along on outings with your children. She may regularly schedule children’s activities or appointments during your parenting time, or she may constantly be calling them or attempting to monitor your whereabouts and what you are doing. Regardless of how it happens, interference with parenting time is not acceptable, and you may need to take legal action to address it.

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