Right of First Refusal for Children Under Illinois Law

first refusal, Illinois law, Illinois family law attorneyThe right of first refusal is the requirement that a divorced or separated parent always contact his or her child’s other parent to care for the child when he or she needs a babysitter, rather than contacting another relative or a friend. If the other parent cannot take the child at that time, the parent seeking childcare may then seek it from another individual – but only after first offering it to the child’s other parent. This is because, in most cases, it is best for a child to spend time with his or her parents.

In 2013, the Illinois House of Representatives passed HB2992, which amended the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act to allow courts to consider this right when developing child custody arrangements. The amendment provides family courts with the discretion to include the right of first refusal in child custody or visitation orders as appropriate.

The Child’s Best Interests

As with all other decisions related to child custody and child support, the court puts the child’s best interests firsts when developing arrangements for him or her. For most children, having as much time with both parents is in their best interest because it fosters nurturing relationships between the child and his or her parents. The only cases where this is not ideal are cases where the parent has a history of committing violent acts against the child or the other parent or if the parent has a criminal record that includes convictions of crimes against children.

The right of first refusal is one of the many factors the court must consider when determining a child’s custody arrangement. Like with other factors, such as the child’s relationships with each parent and other individuals present in each household, the right of first refusal may be worked into an agreement, rather than used as a single determining factor in a custody case. In some cases, it is unrealistic for a parent to be able to be required to always ask the other parent to provide childcare when he or she needs it – if the parents live in different states or even just a considerable distance from each other, the travel logistics involved with providing the right of first refusal can make it impossible.

Requirements for Parents

Under this amendment to the state’s existing child custody law, the parent who is subject to the right of first refusal requirement must notify the other parent when child-care is needed for an significant period of time. Parents, with the help of the court as needed, must create their own standards regarding the invocation of the right of first refusal. They may decide what constitutes a “significant period of time,” agree upon arrangements for communication and transportation, and any other necessary consideration. To facilitate their enforcement, such arrangements are to be included in the parents’ order for custody or visitation.

Arlington Heights Family Law Attorneys

If you are currently working through a divorce or considering filing for divorce in the near future, call 847-253-3100 to schedule your free consultation with a dedicated Illinois family law attorney at Cosley Law Office. We can answer any questions you have about divorce, child support, and child custody while acting as advocates for you and your child.

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