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

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

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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.

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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.

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first refusal, illinois law, DuPage County Family Law AttorneyIf your parenting time with your child is regulated by a child custody agreement, you probably consider the time spent with your children to be very special. This may be particularly true if you are not the primary residential parent, as your interaction with your children may feel somewhat—if not severely—limited. A provision in Illinois law, however, may offer parents a way to get extra time with their children in certain situations by allowing the courts to include the right of first refusal in child custody orders.

Right of First Refusal Defined

The right of first refusal provision was added to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage act in 2014. When the right of first refusal is included in a custody or visitation order, it requires a parent needing child-care for an extended period of time to offer the other parent the opportunity to care for the child. Such an offer would temporarily override the existing visitation or parenting time schedule, in effect, allowing the other parent extra time with the child. The right of first refusal does not require the other parent to accept the offer; it only requires that the offer be made.

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

630-409-8184

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

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