What Is the Right of First Refusal in an Illinois Parenting Plan?

DuPage County parenting time lawyer for right of first refusalThe relationship between a child and his or her parents is something that is crucial to the healthy emotional development of the child. The majority of parents want to be there for their child’s special moments and spend as much time with them as possible during their childhood. When parents are going through a divorce, the time spent with their child often becomes a highly contested issue upon which many parents cannot easily agree. Studies show that children do best when they form a bond with both their mother and father, which is why Illinois encourages parents to have shared parenting time. Something that is known as the right of first refusal (ROFR) can be a bonus for parents who split parenting time with their ex-spouses.

Illinois Parenting Time

In Illinois, the court strongly encourages parents to come to an agreement on parenting time schedules on their own. When parents both draft a personalized timetable and agree to it, they are more likely to adhere to the schedule. If they are unable to come up with a parenting plan, the court will make a decision as to how parenting time is allocated. Unless there is evidence that dual parenting time would be harmful to the child, the court will award visitation time to both parents.

What Is the Right of First Refusal?

If the court allocates parenting time, it will also determine whether or not to award the right of first refusal to either parent. The right of first refusal means that if one parent cannot care for the child during his or her designated parenting time, that parent must first offer the other parent the right to care for the child during that time. This right would apply in instances when the parent would seek substitute childcare for a significant period of time.

For example, a parent who makes plans to go out with his or her friends for the night–whether those plans are made two months or two days in advance–must contact the other parent to see if he or she can/wants to care for the child during that time before making alternate plans for a babysitter or a grandparent to watch the child.

Creating a Right of First Refusal Agreement

Illinois courts will encourage parents to make an agreement on terms for the right of first refusal that are in the best interests of the child. If the parents do not or cannot come to an agreement, the court will come to a decision about:

  • The length and type of childcare requirements that can invoke the right of first refusal

  • How the parent must notify the other parent and how the other parent must respond

  • Transportation requirements

  • Any other action that is necessary to protect and promote the best interests of the child

Contact a DuPage County Parenting Time Lawyer

Child-centered issues can be some of the most disputed topics in a divorce. If you are going through a divorce, and you have a child, you may want to ensure that the right of first refusal is addressed in your parenting plan. It is highly recommended that you contact an Aurora, IL divorce attorney who is skilled in allocating parenting time and dealing with other child-related issues. At the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C., we can help you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse create a parenting time agreement that works for your family. Call our office today at 630-409-8184 to schedule a consultation.



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