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Understanding the Right of First Refusal in an Illinois Parenting Plan

Posted on in Divorce

Plainfield Divorce LawyerDeveloping a parenting plan is often one of the hardest parts of an Illinois divorce. If you are a divorcing parent, you may have many different questions and concerns about child custody. You may be worried that you will not get to spend enough time with your kids after divorce. You may also have questions about your rights as a parent under Illinois law. One aspect of the parenting plan many people misunderstand or overlook is the “right of first refusal.”

Parenting Time Schedules in an Illinois Divorce

Illinois law no longer refers to “child custody” and “visitation.” Instead, the law breaks parenting duties into two components:

  • Parental responsibilities – Parental responsibilities are how parents make decisions about their children such as where the child goes to school or the types of medical care the child gets.

  • Parenting time – Parenting time is the time that a parent is responsible for their child’s immediate needs. Feeding, bathing, and transporting the child to and from school are just some of the tasks a parent may be responsible for during his or her parenting time.

Parents are asked to create a detailed parenting time schedule describing when the child will live with each parent. If parents cannot create a schedule due to fluctuating work schedules or other issues, they must create a method for dividing parenting time that is detailed enough to be enforced in a legal proceeding.

The Right of First Refusal

Even the most conscientious parents may need to deviate from the parenting time schedule once in a while. This is where the “right of first refusal” comes into play.

Consider an example: A mother is assigned parenting time on weekdays while the father has the children on the weekends. However, the mother must attend an out-of-town work event Monday – Wednesday and is unable to care for the children during those days. The right of first refusal gives the father the opportunity to care for the children while the mother is out of town – even though he is not typically responsible for the children on those days. The father has the opportunity to accept or “refuse” the extra time with his kids before the mother looks for third-party childcare options like a babysitter. You can choose how and when the right of first refusal will apply to your situation.   

Contact a Naperville Child Custody Lawyer

The right of first refusal is just one of many issues you must address in your parenting plan. For help with child custody needs during your divorce, contact an experienced Will County divorce attorney from Law Office of Ronald L. Hendrix, P.C.. Call 630-355-7776 today for a free consultation.


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