Does Your Parenting Plan Include the Right of First Refusal?

 Posted on December 15, 2016 in Children of Divorce

Kane County family law attorneyWhen you are a divorced parent, it can be very difficult to find the time to do things that interest you. Between your obligations for work and caring for your children, it may seem impossible to pursue hobbies or spend time with friends. Your own health, however, depends on you being able to develop an identity as an individual with interests outside of your children. One of the biggest challenges that divorced parents often face is finding a babysitter or someone to care for their children when such care is needed. If you need child care arrangements, your parenting plan may dictate that your first call must be to the child’s other parent.

The Right of First Refusal

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act Provides that a parenting plan may include what is known as the right of first refusal if the parents agree or if ordered by the court. The right of first refusal refers to an arrangement in which a parent requiring child care must first offer the other parent the opportunity for additional parenting time before seeking alternate arrangements. While this may sound complicated, the right of first refusal is often fairly straightforward in practice.

Consider a scenario in which you have parenting time with your child on the second and fourth weekend of every month. Assume you receive an invitation to an adults-only wedding on the second Saturday of next month. If the right of first refusal has been included in your parenting plan and the circumstances meet the criteria you have established, you must contact the other parent and offer him or her the chance to spend that Saturday with your child before you ask someone else. The right of first refusal requires you to offer; it does not obligate the other parent to accept.

Setting Up the Right of First Refusal

If including the right of first refusal seems like a reasonable compromise, you and the other parent will need to reach an agreement regarding when the right applies. For example, you must decide if the right applies to every single time child care is needed—including an impromptu night out with friends—or only to extended situations like a two-day business trip. You will also need to establish a timeline and communication expectations. How far in advance must you offer and how long will the other parent have to decide? Are phone calls required or will a text message suffice? Transportation and any other concerns should also be addressed so that there is no confusion when the need arises.

Parenting Plan Guidance

Developing a workable parenting plan is an important part of the co-parenting process, as your plan will provide the foundation for your continued relationship with the other parent. For assistance with creating a parenting plan that includes the right of first refusal, contact an experienced Kane County family law attorney. Call 630-584-4800 for a free consultation today.




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