The Right of First Refusal in Illinois

When parents are not married or living together and have to balance parental time-sharing and parental responsibilities with each other, there are times when one or both parents may want more time with the children that he or she normally gets. One way a parent can try to get more time with the children is by requesting the right of first refusal when it comes to childcare.

The right of first refusal when it comes to the care of minor children in Illinois refers to the opportunity for one or both parents to be given the first chance to provide childcare for the parents’ minor children during each other’s normal parenting time. This means that if a parent has a reason to get childcare for a significant period of time during his parenting time, he has to offer the other parent the opportunity to have the children during that time.

The right of first refusal is generally not used to cover short-term childcare needs, such as when a parent has to run to the grocery store. The right of first refusal also does not apply in emergency situations. So if a parent is called away unexpectedly, the parent can get the fastest available babysitter to watch the children instead of offering the other parent the opportunity to take the children. However, if the emergency extends to a significant period of time, the parent may be required to make arrangements to offer the other parent the opportunity to take the children and care for them.

The terms of how the right to first refusal would work between parents can either be settled by the court or by the parents in an agreement. The terms usually involve determining what kind of childcare requirements would trigger the right of first refusal, how the parents would communicate about the need for the childcare, and how the children would be transferred from one parent to another.

A parent can also request the right of first refusal when the parent is uneasy about the childcare choices the other parent would make, for example, leaving the child with a relative or a stranger who has no experience with children or is otherwise unsuitable to be a babysitter. Whatever the reason, a parent can ask for the right of first refusal without really having to give the court an explanation for the desire to have such a right. The only consideration the court has to make in awarding the right of first refusal is whether it is in the best interest of the child.

Contact Us for More Information

It is usually better for parents to come to an agreement about parenting plans and issues such as the right of first refusal. For more information about how you can negotiate a parenting plan with your child’s other parent, contact the experienced Naperville child custody and visitation attorneys at the Roscich & Martel Law Firm, LLC for a consultation.


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