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The Right of First Refusal in Illinois Parenting Plans

On Behalf of | Sep 26, 2022 | Child Custody

During divorce, legal separation, or the establishment of a first-time custody arrangement for non-married parents, there can be a number of legal requirements that might seem overwhelming at first. Creating a plan for child custody, which is divided into “parental responsibilities” and “parenting time” in Illinois, can seem like an insurmountable amount of work. An experienced family law attorney can walk you through the process step-by-step.

In our last blog, we discussed a broad overview of what a parenting plan needs to contain to get approved by an Illinois family law judge. Today, we will look at a specific element of a parenting plan that many parents utilize to help them maximize their time with each child: The right of first refusal.

Using the Right of First Refusal to Your Advantage

The right of first refusal is a clause that describes when parents are obligated to give each other the first opportunity to provide supplementary childcare. Parents will need to agree on how long they must be gone before giving each other the chance to take the kids.

For example, let us assume that parents agree to a schedule wherein one parent has the children Monday-Wednesday and every other weekend. Perhaps that parent then wants to attend a Thursday night class that lasts from 5-9 every week. If the parents have a clause that states an absence of longer than four hours triggers the right of first refusal, the parent wishing to take the class will be required to ask the other parent if he or she wants the children on Thursday nights during class time.

Parents can be as flexible as they wish with the right of first refusal, but parents who tend to experience high levels of conflict usually benefit from having a fairly rigid plan in place. In some cases, the right of refusal may either not make sense (such as when parents live very far apart or cannot co-parent peacefully at all) or be unsafe (such as when one parent requires supervised visitation because of concerns of abuse or neglect).

Need a Comprehensive Parenting Plan? Schedule a Free Consultation with a Chicago, IL Parenting Plan Lawyer

Every family is unique, and every parenting plan should reflect that. If you want help creating a suitable parenting plan that meets your family’s needs, contact the knowledgeable Chicago, IL child custody attorneys with NextLevel Law, P.C. by Daniel R. Hernandez, Esq.. Our mission is to make sure your family’s needs are met so you can avoid future conflict and co-parent smoothly. Call 312-442-2225 today to schedule a free consultation.