How to Address the Right of First Refusal in Your Illinois Parenting Plan
There are many different pieces to an effective parenting plan, and something called the “right of first refusal” is one of the most important. Understanding the right of first refusal, and how it can help you spend more time with your children, is essential to creating a parenting plan that works for you. In this blog, we will answer some common questions about the right of first refusal and how it can benefit divorced parents in Illinois.
What Is the “Right of First Refusal” in Illinois?
When making decisions regarding the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time agreements, Illinois courts and judges prioritize the wellbeing of children above all else. In recent years, an abundance of research has been done that supports the idea that children do best when both parents have an active presence in their lives. This means that, whenever it is safe and possible to do so, courts will give preference to parenting plans that allow each parent to maximize the time they spend with their child.
The right of first refusal is one effective way to do this because it requires divorced parents to ask each other to provide childcare rather than hiring a babysitter or asking another family member. Of course, this is not always possible or practical, so parents have wide leeway in creating a right of first refusal arrangement that works best for their circumstances.
What are Common “Right of First Refusal” Arrangements?
Each family’s circumstances are unique; so too will be the situations that trigger the right of first refusal. If parents live very close to each other and transferring the children between households causes little disruption to the children, then parents might agree to require the right of first refusal whenever they are gone for just a few hours.
If parents live far away from each other, or if contact between parents frequently causes arguments, a parent’s absence from the children may be longer before the right of first refusal is invoked. Other circumstances may also affect the right of first refusal. For example, if a parent must be gone for six hours and an absence of that length would generally oblige them to offer the other parent the right of first refusal, but it would be on a school night and the children could not get to school from the other parent’s house, invoking the right of first refusal would not make sense.
The most important thing is that the right of first refusal arrangement is in the best interests of the child. Although parents are encouraged to work together on a parenting arrangement, the court will ultimately decide whether the plan is appropriate.
Speak with a St. Charles Parenting Plan Attorney
At Shaw Sanders, P.C., we know how important your children are to you; that is why we are committed to maximizing your time with them whenever possible. We will take your preferences into account and help you create a parenting plan that includes an appropriate right of first refusal schedule. Set up a free initial consultation with an experienced Kane County divorce attorney. Call us today at 630-584-5550.