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The Right of First Refusal in an Illinois Parenting Plan

DuPage County family law attorneysIf you are a divorced parent, you may find it very tough to pursue your own personal interests and hobbies. Between work and providing for your children, it might be nearly impossible to find time to travel, meet with friends, or participate in fun activities. It is important to develop an identity apart from being a parent as doing so is crucial to your psychological and emotional health. One of the biggest challenges that you are likely to face as a divorced parent is finding a sitter to care for your child when you need it. Depending on your situation, however, your parenting plan may require you to call your child’s other parent first.

What is the Right of First Refusal?

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, a divorced or unmarried couple’s parenting plan may grant what is known as the “right of first refusal” to one or both parents. The right of first refusal essentially gives a parent “first dibs” on the opportunity to care for the child if the other parent needs alternative childcare during his or her normal parenting time. This may seem rather complicated, but it is actually quite simple in practice.

Consider a scenario in which you are scheduled to enjoy parenting time with your child during alternating weeks. Next month, you have the opportunity to go on an all-expenses-paid cruise with your friends, but you would need to find a sitter for part of your parenting time. If your parenting plan included the right of first refusal and the situation matches the criteria you have set up, you would be required to give the other parent the chance to spend the extra time with your child before you ask anyone else. It is important to note that the right of first refusal only requires you to make the offer; the other parent can refuse—hence the “right of first refusal.”

Setting the Criteria

If you wish to include the right of first refusal in your parenting plan, you and your child’s other parent will need to decide when the right will apply. For example, will you call each other for a spontaneous night out or only for planned situations involving longer-term care? You will also need to determine how much notice is needed and how you will contact one another. Phone calls might work for some while text messages or emails work better for others. It is also best to work out transportation and any other concerns in advance so things will go more smoothly when the time comes.

Call Us for Help

There are often many obstacles to creating a workable parenting plan in the wake of a divorce or breakup. For guidance in creating a plan that includes the right of first refusal, contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney. Call 630-665-7300 for a confidential consultation at MKFM Law today.



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From our law office in Wheaton, IL the family law and civil litigation law attorneys of Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick and Mirabella, represent businesses and individual clients throughout the western suburbs of Chicago, Illinois including Wheaton, Naperville, Oak Brook, Glen Ellyn, Carol Stream, Lombard, Downers Grove, Burr Ridge, Lisle, Elmhurst, Oakbrook Terrace, Winfield, Woodridge, Warrenville and throughout DuPage, Kane and Kendall Counties.

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In honor of the passing of our founder, Joseph F. Mirabella, Jr., our offices are closed Friday, January 31, 2020.I Agree