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Lombard family law attorneyMany divorced or separated parents often struggle with their new reality of limited time with their children. This is quite often the case for a parent who has been granted a relatively lesser amount of parenting time compared to the other. While you may understand logically that creating an equal parenting time schedule is not truly possible in most cases, knowing that does not make it any easier to be away from your children. There is a way, though, to include extra possible parenting time in your agreement with your ex. It is called the right of first refusal and, when utilized properly, this right can offer both parents and the child substantial benefits.

Understanding First Refusal

When you have precious little time with your child, you may be looking for any and all possible ways to see him or her more often. Changing permanent arrangement or schedule can be rather complicated, but including the right of first refusal is fairly simple. When the right of first refusal is part of your parenting agreement, it means that your child’s other parent is required to offer you the chance to care for the child when he or she would otherwise need to make other childcare arrangements. In short, this means additional parenting time opportunities for you. As the name implies, you have the right to refuse the opportunity, but if parenting time is at a premium, may be unlikely to turn down such a chance.

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Posted on in Divorce
right of first refusalChanges to the Illinois family law that went into effect in January mean divorced co-parents will need to notify their ex-spouse any time they plan to leave their children with a caregiver for more than four hours. This could have a serious impact on long-standing child care arrangements, particularly in situations where a couple has been divorced for a longer period of time.

According to Illinois HB 2992, parents who share joint custody of their children must offer their ex-spouse the opportunity to care for the couple’s children temporarily before seeking third-party care for any period more than four hours. As long as the co-parent lives within a reasonable distance, they must be offered the opportunity to provide care before a babysitter can be hired and before the child can be left with grandparents or at a daycare facility.

This new clause is commonly known as "right of first refusal," and may lead to a significant change in families where the custodial parent usually leaves a child with grandparents or babysitters while running errands or a parent’s night out. They will now be required to notify their ex-spouse of their plans and give their co-parent the opportunity to care for the child during that time instead. An exception may be made in emergency cases. If the co-parent does choose to accept the additional time, they will be responsible for providing any transportation that may be required, except in cases where a different arrangement is agreed upon between both parties.

If you are a co-parent sharing joint custody and have questions about how this may impact current custody agreements or child care arrangements, we can help. Contact an experienced Arlington Heights family law attorney at A. Traub & Associates today for a consultation. Our qualified team of attorneys understand the importance of communication in child custody issues and will work diligently to reach a clear and concise resolution to your situation.

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