Do I Have First Right of Refusal to See My Child in Illinois?

 Posted on April 16, 2024 in Child Custody

Kane County, IL child custody lawyerWhile parents and courts try to make parenting time arrangements as stable and consistent as possible, sometimes plans change. The child is then forced to adapt, which can increase confusion for a child already suffering from it.

For this reason, some parents choose to put a “first right of refusal” clause in their parenting plan. This article will discuss what a parenting plan is and why you might consider requesting the first right of refusal.

As always, it is best to consult with an experienced family lawyer if you have any questions about parenting time.

What is a Parenting Plan?

One of the things parents who are getting divorced must do is create a parenting plan. A parenting plan, according to Illinois law, is a legal document that establishes how parenting rights and responsibilities will be distributed between the two co-parents. It includes, for example:

  • How parenting time is divided

  • Transportation arrangements

  • Parenting methods

  • Religious upbringing

  • How major decisions concerning the child will be made

  • How much each parent can communicate with the child during the other parent’s parenting time

If the parenting plan is agreed upon by both parents, they sign it and submit it to the court. If they cannot agree on a parenting plan, they will be ordered to create a plan in mediation. If they still cannot agree, a judge will have a parenting plan created for them.

Another provision that parents might wish to include in the parenting plan is the first right of refusal.

What is the First Right of Refusal?

The first right of refusal outlines what happens if one parent cannot meet his or her parenting time duties. In that case, the other parent may wish to take the child during that period instead of leaving the child in someone else’s care. 

If, for example, the father has a death in the family and must travel out of state for a few days, he might leave the child in the care of a nanny or the child’s grandparents. But if the mother has the first right of refusal, she would have the right to take the child while the father is away. Only if the mother cannot or will not take the child does the father have the right to place the child in someone else’s temporary care.

The first right of refusal is not an automatic right, however. Parents who wish to have the first right of refusal must put it in their parenting plan.

Contact a Kane County, IL Family Lawyer

Divorce is confusing enough for a child. A good parenting plan will provide as much stability as possible, and having the first right of refusal can help add consistency to a difficult situation. The first step to a good parenting plan is to consult an experienced St. Charles, Illinois family law attorney who can walk you through how to create a solid parenting plan. Call Goostree Law Group at 630-584-4800 for a free consultation today.

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