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Your Parenting Plan Could Include the Right of First Refusal

Posted on in Child Custody

right of first refusal, DuPage County family lawyerWhile parenting after a divorce or a breakup of unmarried parents will nearly always be challenging, your child will benefit from determined cooperation between you and your former partner. While parents have long been permitted to develop their own agreements regarding child custody—as long as they promoted the best interests of the child—the law in Illinois was recently amended regarding child custody and parenting concerns. Today, divorced or unmarried parents are not only allowed to create a parenting plan, but they are fully expected by the court to do so. One element that must be considered in drafting a parenting plan is each parent’s right of first refusal and whether such rights are appropriate for a particular situation.

Extra Parenting Time

At some point, most parents will need someone to watch their children. This, as you might expect, may be frustrating at times for a parent whose time with his or her child is already limited due to a divorce. On the other hand, a parent in that situation may also be looking for additional ways to participate in the child’s life. Including the right of first refusal in your parenting plan could directly address both concerns.

You and your child’s other parent may agree that if either of you ever need someone to watch your child during your respective scheduled parenting time, you will first contact each other to offer the opportunity. For example, if your parenting time is scheduled for a certain weekend, but you are required to leave town for work, your agreement could require you to ask the other parent if he or she would like extra time with your child before finding someone else.

Specific Provisions

While the concept of the right of first refusal is fairly straightforward, its implementation can be complex if you do not plan carefully in advance. If you elect to include the right of first refusal in your parenting plan, you will need to agree upon several elements, including:

  • Situations that will invoke the right of first refusal. Will you need to contact the other parent if you need a sitter for an evening or only if the need is for several days?
  • How you and the other parent will notify each other of the offer and responses. Are text messages acceptable or do you need to actually speak to one another?
  • How transportation will be arranged. You may decide that the person who offers must also drop off the child, or to base decisions on the immediate situation; and
  • Any other necessary considerations to reasonably facilitate the right of first refusal.

By addressing these concerns in advance and in detail, you and the other parent will have a better understanding of your obligations and responsibilities regarding care for your child.

If you have additional questions about the right of first refusal or any other requirement of Illinois parenting plans, contact an experienced Aurora family law attorney. Our skilled team will help you find the answers you need and provide the responsible representation you deserve. Call 630-409-8184 to schedule a confidential consultation at the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. today.


The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.


1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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