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What You Need to Know About the Right of First Refusal in Illinois

Posted on in Child Custody

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.

What Is the Right of First Refusal?

When the time you get to share with your children is reduced, many parents look for any way they can sneak in extra parenting time. The right of first refusal was instituted in order to help reduce the amount of time that children in a shared parenting scenario spend with a babysitter, relative, or other non-parent.

Consider this hypothetical scenario: You are the parent with the lesser amount of parental responsibility and so you now only get to spend two weekends a month with your child. On one of the weekends that you do not have responsibility for your child, you find out that your child’s other parent is going out of town and plans to have a babysitter stay with the child. Understandably, you are frustrated by this. The right of first refusal gives parents in a situation like this the right to gain extra parenting time when the parent with allotted parenting time is unable to fulfill this duty. The right of first refusal requires the child’s other parent to see if you can keep the child when they are going to be absent. If you cannot have the child during a particular absence, you have the right to “refuse” the opportunity for extra parenting time, and then the other parent is free to look for alternative childcare.  

Contact a Cook County Child Custody Lawyer

To learn more about shared parenting after an Illinois divorce, contact the experienced Arlington Heights family law attorneys at A. Traub & Associates. Call us at 630-426-0196 to schedule a consultation today. We can help you create a workable parenting plan that protects your rights and serves your child's best interests. 




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