Can I Care For My Kids if My Ex-Spouse is Unavailable During Parenting Time?
Parents who are divorced, separated, or never married often struggle with the limited time they get to spend with their kids. Missed holidays and big chunks of summer vacations can be tough, but so can the basic, everyday interactions that parents miss out on when their children are with their other parent.
Illinois allows parents to potentially resolve this issue by putting a creative section in their parenting plan called “the right of first refusal.” If you and your spouse get along fairly well and you are hoping to spend more time with your children, read on to find out how having this clause could benefit you.
Right of First Refusal and Illinois Parenting Plans
The right of first refusal is a legal term that simply describes an arrangement wherein parents seek supplemental childcare from each other before they hire a babysitter or ask a family member. Parents who want the right of first refusal can make the clause as flexible as they want; if they live close to each other and can engage in frequent childcare transactions without conflict, they may want to require the right of first refusal every time a parent has to leave the children for more than a few hours. Parents who live several hours from each other or across the border in another state may only want to include the right of first refusal when a parent is gone overnight. Whatever the arrangement may be, as long as parents both agree to abide by the terms, a judge will likely approve it.
However, the right of first refusal does not make sense for everyone and may even place a parent or child in danger if it is inappropriately included in a parenting plan. You should not consider the right of first refusal, even if your spouse is asking for it, if you are getting divorced and have dealt with any of the following issues:
- Verbal, physical, or emotional abuse toward yourself or your children
- A spouse who has to have supervised parenting time
- A spouse who uses every contact as an opportunity for conflict
While the right of first refusal can be highly beneficial for both parents and children, it is not required to be in a parenting plan and parents can specify that they do not wish to use it.
Call a DuPage County, IL Parenting Time Lawyer
If you are getting divorced or rearranging your parenting schedule and want to implement a requirement that you and your ex seek childcare from each other first, schedule a consultation with an experienced Wheaton, IL family lawyer with MKFM Law. We will help you go over your options and find the best way to negotiate a fair arrangement with your child’s other parent. Call us today at 630-665-7300.