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Arlington Heights family law attorneysIf you are a parent who shares parental responsibility, or custody, with your child’s other parent, you know how challenging and complicated a shared parenting arrangement can be. A joint parenting arrangement can become even more complicated when a parent plans to move away. If the parent with the majority of parenting time moves a great distance away, the other parent may worry that he or she will not get to see his or her child. Fortunately, a parent who is subject to a shared parenting arrangement cannot relocate a significant distance without input from the child’s other parent.

Defining “Relocation” Under Illinois Law

Illinois parents can only dispute a move if it meets the definition of “relocation” according to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. There are three different situations that can constitute relocation:

  • The parent lives in Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, McHenry County, Will County, or Lake County and is planning to move more than 25 miles away.
  • The parent lives in another Illinois county and wants to move to a residence that is 50 miles or more away.
  • The parent wants to move outside the state of Illinois to a residence that is more than 25 miles away.

If the relocation meets the above criteria, the parent planning to move must notify the other parent at least 60 days before the move. They must also provide the other parent with the new intended address.

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Rolling Meadows family law attorneyThe law in Illinois requires divorcing parents to submit a plan for how they intend to care and provide for their children. Parenting plans include provisions for how child custody, officially called the allocation of parental responsibilities in Illinois, should be managed, as well as several other child-related concerns. One part of Illinois parenting plans that often gets overlooked is the “right of first refusal.” Read on to learn what the right of first refusal is and how you can include directions about extra parenting time in your parenting plan.

Maximizing Parenting Time With Right of First Refusal Provisions

If you are a parent who is getting divorced, you may worry that you will not get to spend as much time as you want to with your child once the divorce is finalized. Parents who are used to seeing their children every day can understandably have a difficult time adjusting to a parenting schedule where they see their children less often. The right of first refusal refers to the right that parents have to spend time with their children when the other parent cannot fulfill his or her parenting time obligations.

For example, imagine that your child’s other parent goes on a business trip during one of the weekends that he or she is assigned parenting time. Instead of the parent calling a babysitter or other individual to care for the child in his or her absence, the right of first refusal can require the parent to ask you if you are able and willing to care for your child during the business trip. If you “refuse” the extra parenting time, then the other parent would be permitted to hire a babysitter or find alternative childcare.

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Arlington Heights family law attorneysIf you are a parent who is thinking about getting a divorce, you likely have many concerns regarding your children. You may worry about how the children will adjust to a two-home arrangement or how they will take the news of the divorce. You may also worry about how much time you will get to spend with your kids now that you must share parenting time with your children’s other parent.

It can be incredibly difficult for parents to transition to a more limited parenting arrangement after they have been highly involved in their children’s lives on a daily basis. Fortunately, there is a way to make sure parents have the maximum amount of parenting time possible through the “right of first refusal” provision.

Illinois Parenting Agreements

Parents who plan to share custody of their children in Illinois must complete a parenting agreement or parenting plan. In this agreement, you and your child’s other parent will write down your plans for how you will share parental responsibilities (formerly called custody) and parenting time (formerly called visitation.) You must also make note of how major decisions about the children’s lives will be made and how parents will communicate with the children during the other parent’s allotted parenting time. There are also several “rights” which parents must agree upon, including the other parent’s right to be informed about travel plans, healthcare issues, emergencies, and other important concerns in the children’s lives. Lastly, parents must address the right of first refusal.

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