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

 Posted on September 23, 2019 in Child Custody

Naperville parenting plan attorneysIf you are a parent who is considering a divorce, there is a good chance that you probably worried about how your divorce will affect your children. While you most likely realize that children are resilient and able to adapt, it is understandable that you might have fears about how your kids will handle your divorce and the related concerns.

One of the best things that you can do for your children is to commit to cooperating with your ex-spouse when it comes to child-related issues. Cooperative parenting—also called co-parenting—starts with a comprehensive parenting plan. A parenting plan is also required under Illinois law for divorcing parents who wish to share parental responsibilities. Your parenting plan must contain provisions for dividing decision-making authority, each parent’s days with the children, and other important matters. It must also address whether one or both parents will have the right of first refusal for extra parenting time.

Understanding the Right of First Refusal

The phrase “first refusal” might sound negative, but the right of first refusal can actually be a very good thing. The right of first refusal refers to the right of a parent to be offered additional parenting time when the other parent requires child care during the other parent’s scheduled time. The parent who is offered the additional parenting time is not obligated to accept it; instead, he or she has the right to refuse it.  

In your parenting plan does include the right of first refusal, you will need to decide whether it applies to just one parent or both parents equally. You must also determine the circumstances under which the offer of additional parenting time must be made. For example, you and your ex-spouse might decide that the offer does not need to be made if the needed child care is for a just a few hours or a  single night out, but that it should be made for a full day. You will also to address communication concerns, such as whether the offer will be made by phone or text message, as well as who will be responsible for transportation.

By including the right of first refusal in your parenting plan—particularly for the parent with less parenting time—you can help ensure that both parents remain an active part of your child’s life. Utilizing the right also requires intentional communication, which is also beneficial for families affected by divorce.

Call a Naperville Family Law Attorney for Help

At Pesce Law Group, P.C., we have helped hundreds of clients throughout the region negotiate sound, equitable parenting plans, many of which included the right of first refusal. If you are a parent who is considering a divorce, contact one of our experienced DuPage County divorce attorneys to get the guidance you need. Call 630-352-2240 and schedule a free consultation today.



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