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

 Posted on June 07, 2021 in Child Custody

barrington divorce lawyerEvery couple going through a divorce with children must make child custody arrangements for their children before they can complete the process. Your parenting plan must contain information about how you and your spouse will split parenting time and share decision-making responsibilities. Parenting time is often a tough issue for parents during a divorce. Many parents do not want to give up spending time with their children. One of the ways parents can spend a bit more time with their children is by crafting a well-thought-out “right of first refusal” clause in the parenting agreement.

Understanding the Right of First Refusal

There are fifteen different elements that must be addressed in the parenting plan per Illinois law. One of the provisions you must include is a description of how and when parents may invoke the right of first refusal. The right of first refusal gives a parent the opportunity to care for their child before the other parent takes the child to an alternative care provider. For example, if a mother cannot watch the child on her assigned day, she must contact the father to see if he can watch the child before calling a babysitter. The right of first refusal is a right that both, one, or neither parent may have, depending on what would be in the child’s best interests.

What to Include in the Agreement

Parents are encouraged to come to an agreement about the right of first refusal, but if they are unable to, the Court reserves the right to make the final decision. There are a few things you should be sure to include in the agreement:

  • When the right of first refusal is active - You should clearly state when the right of first refusal is triggered. How long must the absence be before a parent must notify the other parent?
  • Which situations do not utilize the right of first refusal - When can the right of first refusal be overlooked? For example, a parent may stipulate that the right is not invoked if the parent is leaving the child with a step-parent during their parenting time.
  • How you must give notice and reply to the notice - You should clearly state terms for how and when both parents are to be notified of the absence. You should also specify the terms for how the other parent is to send a response.
  • Transportation guidelines - In addition, you should also include how transportation arrangements should be made. Who will be responsible for taking the child to the other parent’s house?

Our Barrington, IL Parenting Plan Lawyer is Here to Help

Decisions concerning your children, such as parenting time, are often sources of major conflict in a divorce. The knowledgeable Inverness, IL child custody attorneys at the Law Office of Nicholas W. Richardson, P.C., can help you form a parenting time agreement that works for both you and your ex, as well as your child. To schedule a free consultation, call our office today at 847.873.6741.


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