Right of First Refusal – What You Need to Know

Posted on in Child Custody and Support

A change to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act may mean a big change in child-care options for divorced parents who share joint custody of their children. For some, this change in Illinois family law may mean a significant change in way they schedule their errand days or vacations.

right of first refusal IMAGEAccording to Illinois HB 2992, next year parents who are in a joint-custody relationship must notify the other parent of their plans for a day or night out, and offer them the opportunity to care for the child temporarily before seeking third-party care from grandparents, babysitters, or daycare centers. This applies even if the other parent lives farther away than other relatives or babysitters, so long as the distance is not considered impractical. Additionally, should the co-parent choose to accept the additional parenting time, they must provide any necessary transportation, unless other arrangements are agreed upon.

This clause is referred to as “right of first refusal,” and applies to any time when one parent must leave the child in the care of another for a period of four hours or more. For families that schedule a once-a-week errand day or parents’ night out, this could mean sending the child to their other parent instead of calling a babysitter or the grandparents. The one exception to this change is in the case of emergency. Right of first refusal may also be terminated if one parent’s custody or visitation rights are terminated by the court.

If you have joint custody of your child and have questions about these changes to Illinois family law, or if you are considering filing for a divorce from your spouse, we can help. Contact one of the qualified attorneys from The Law Offices of Douglas B. Warlick & Associates today. We can help you understand how these changes affect you, and ensure that your divorce is conducted fairly and legally.


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