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right of first refusal chicago divorce

Parenting Time and the Right of First Refusal – What You Need to Know 

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Categorized as Child Custody & Visitation

The right for one parent to care for the children when the other parent is unavailable during their parenting time to care for the children has developed over time into an actual section of the Illinois Law which provides that, “if a party intends to leave the minor child with a substitute child-care provider for a significant period of time.  That party must first offer the other party an opportunity to personally care for their minor child”  Oftentimes parents would incorporate this provision into their Joint Parenting Agreements and agree amongst themselves what that time period would be that would invoke the right of first refusal.

How the Right of First Refusal Works

As an example, parents could agree that the right of first refusal would be invoked if one of the parents were gone overnight.  They could agree to a period of time.  I have worked with parties who agree that the time period could be as long as 12 hours or as short as 4 hours.  When the Laws regarding custody in Illinois were changed in 2016, the law incorporated a section called “Care of minor children; right of first refusal” and provides that if a court awards parenting time to both parents the court may consider whether or not to award to one or both of the parents this right of first refusal.   If the court is left to make this determination of whether or not to award a right of first refusal, they have to review the best interest factors which are found in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 602.7).  When the court reviews the best interest factors they can then decide if one or both parents will have the right of first refusal and detail the following:

  1. the length and kind of child-care requirements invoking the right of first refusal;
  2. notification to the other parent and procedure and time frame for a response;
  3. transportation requirements; and
  4. any other action necessary to protect and promote the best interest of the children.

A court may very well make a finding that it is in the child’s best interests to spend time with their parents, as opposed to a babysitter or other care provider if the other parent is available – hence the right of first refusal.  However, there are also situations when the parents have a very difficult and strained relationship and the courts determine that it is best to minimize the interactions between the parents so they do not grant either parent the right of first refusal – in this case, the parents have their specific parenting time and if they are unavailable they are charged with the responsibility to find care for their children.

Right of First Refusal is Not Automatic

It is important to keep in mind that even though the legislature has incorporated this right of first refusal into the statute, it does not mean that it is automatically ordered by the Court.  It has to be found to be in the best interest of the children for this provision to be ordered.  In addition, the court could award one or both parents the right of first refusal.  It is often a mutual provision but the law allows for the court to make this determination on a case by case basis to award this right to one or both of the parents.

Important to Detail Notification Requirements

If you are going to a wedding during your weekend parenting time and will be gone from noon until 10 p.m. (10 hours) and you have a right of first refusal that is invoked in a 6-hour absence, you would be required to contact the other parent and offer them the 10 hours with the children before you make alternative care arrangements for the children.  It is very important to detail the notification (should it be in writing, phone call) and the response time.  If you text the other parent that you are going to be away for the amount of time detailed in your parenting order, it is important to also have details in the parenting order as to the response time.  If you do not hear back from the other parent within a certain amount of time then you have to be able to arrange for care for the children.  It is also important to detail who will provide the transportation for this period.

Choose a Reasonable Time Period

You want to think about a reasonable time period for this right.  I have talked with clients who want a two (2) hour period. This may not be practical since you may need to run to the store or the gym or have an appointment and you are not going to want to call the other parent for all of these routine errands.

In addition, in an emergency-type situation, the right of first refusal may not be practical. That is, if something unexpected comes up, the party exercising parenting time may not have enough time to reach out to the other parent to see if they are available. However, a parent cannot use that excuse and it must truly be an emergent situation.

In order for the right of first refusal to work best for the children and avoid last-minute changes and arrangements, the parents should let each other know about plans as soon as possible or as soon as they know they will have a conflict.  This will allow plans to be made and the children can be made aware that they will be with the other parent and can be a very positive situation when the children see their parents communicating and being able to get along in such situations.  It is when parenting exchanges are tense and full of conflict that a right of first refusal may not be best for the children as it can increase stress and tension which would not be in their best interest.

An Experienced Lawyer Can Help You with Right of First Refusal in Your Parenting Order

It is very important to work with an experienced child lawyer in chicago to make the right of first refusal and detailed and clear as possible.  You cannot think of every scenario but you can make the wording clear enough so that you can follow the agreement without issue.  The main thing is that you must have good communication with the other parent and be willing to put in the effort that it will take to make this work.

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prior to finding and retaining Anderson & Boback, i had two previous lawyers. both of my prior attornies let the process drag on, and would not challenge opposing counsel. several issues surfaced during this time and my prior attornies were unwilling or unable to... address them.After an initial meeting with Kim Anderson, I did not hesitate to hire her as my now 3rd lawyer. Kim and Genevieve Binnie quickly familiarized themselves with the case. Kim and Genevieve are knowledgable, professional, and very confident. Kim and Genevieve gave me the impression that i was their only client. I was never told that they were too busy or had other important meetings to address my concerns, as my previous lawyers often did. just recently my case went to trial. although the judge has not made a ruling yet, i am confident in a favorable outcome for the case that Kim and Genevieve put on. i cannot thank them enough for their hard work. Both Kim and Genevieve are skilled, and excellent attornies. I highly recommend Anderson & Boback!read more
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For years, I have been bombarded with bad-faith petitions by my daughter's biological father; Though we've lived in Florida since my daughter was 17 months old (she'll be 12 in a week), the jurisdiction has remained, sadly, in Illinois. Her father has an unlimited... amount of money to waste, and as a single mother of two, and a Florida educator, I do not; I have struggled to fly back and forth to Chicago from Florida, fighting Pro-Se because I've not been able to afford an attorney. I've had to incur costs to fly to Chicago, lose work time, lose time with my family, and simply continue to be harassed with no end in sight. Recently, after being bombarded again- now with 'emergency petitions' with no merit to them, but simply designed to ensure I am not able to fly within 24 hours from Florida to Chicago to defend myself, my family members said, "ENOUGH!". I was referred to Janice Boback from a dear family friend, and another family member loaned me the retainer fee, which is very reasonable. Janice, with only 36 hours to prepare for a hearing, was a ROCK STAR! It was the first time I felt that the 'little guy' won a victory! She was laser sharp, calm, and unrelenting - Everything was dismissed against me! My daughter's best interest was supported, and the Judge, because it was a hearing, was finally made aware of the facts. After almost two hours, the judge stated he finds me, "Completely credible, honest, and in no way attempting to interfere with [my] daughter's relationship with her biological father"... He went on to tell her father, "She is not responsible for 'spoon-feeding' you information about your daughter."... POETIC JUSTICE! Janice is my HERO - A Peaceful Warrior who is steady in a sea of chaos, ready to lift onto her shoulders those whose voice has been drowned out! Thank you!read more
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I have worked with Jan for several years after finding her through Google Reviews. She has been a tremendous asset to my case. She is always responsive and willing to help. She is extremely knowledgeable of the law and is always realistic about expectations.... Ultimately, I got the BEST possible outcome for my case due to Jan’s diligence. I am so glad she is on my side!read more
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Ms. Boback is an excellent legal resource. She collaborated with me on possible solutions for a mutual client concerning a complicated matter that implicated the laws of multiple states. She was knowledgeable, helpful, and practical. She certainly earned my highest... endorsement.read more
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While looking to switch to a female attorney for a very contentious separation involving a child with an exe, I came across the law firm of Anderson & Boback. They were very prompt with the call-back response to my inquiry and connected me with Janice right away.... Janice took a substantial amount of time to speak with me, to better understand the complexities in my case, and she offered great insight.I found this firm to very compassionate and understanding in how to navigate the legal system in this matter and also in their understanding of the sort of individual I unfortunately have to deal with and the associated legal games separating parents may face.I would have absolutely sought Anderson & Boback’s council but there was a conflict and with my case already advanced, I chose another female attorney. Based on my initial experience, I would definitely recommend this firm!read more
Lucy M.
You get what you pay for... !After firing our first attorney because quite frankly he was in over his head with our case we hired Jessica Marshall from Anderson and Boback.Jessica was responsive, attentive, has a hyper attention to detail and of course, knows the... laws relating to the litigation of custody, child support, and parenting time inside and out. At no point did we feel Jessica was not ontop of our case and ready to see our case all the way through to a trial. She managed expectations. Under promised, over delivered!No trail, an agreement in place with the parenting time we wanted and a manageable child support order was the end result of a bitter child support and parenting time case.Hopefully we will not have to utilize Jessica’s services again but in the event that we need to, we have full confidence in her abilities. She did an outstanding job for us. Cannot say enough about how pleased we are as a result of Jessica’s services. Highly recommend!read more
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Kim Anderson is a fantastic attorney. I was very stressed and scared over possible outcome of my case. Kim successfully defended me and helped me move forward with my life. I can't honestly thank her enough.
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I was in an existing parentage case that had been drawn out for about a year and a half with little being done, before I decided to switch firms to Anderson & Boback. Kim Anderson reached out to me immediately upon my inquiry and it was very clear to me that she was... interested in what I had to say, and genuine in her responses to my questions. In taking on my case, she showed strong support for the outcome I wanted, gave very reasonable advice to help me get there, and brought experience to the table to guide me in my own decision making. She kept things moving, and so within only a few months of bringing her on, we were able to wrap up the case with a great outcome. Couldn't be more pleased. Thank you so much Kim!read more
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Absolutely wonderful, are just some of the adjectives I can use to describe the wonderful women at Anderson and Boback. Kimberly Anderson is a tough hard-nosed lawyer who knows what she's doing and the direction she wants to go when it comes to fighting for her client.... Since the day I contacted this firm because of the deteriorating circumstances involving my ex-wife, she listened to me and gave sound advice. When it came time to fight in the courtroom, she was more than ready and communicative throughout the entire process with the first emergency order, which we won. This happened on two more occasions before our day in court and she still fought hard winning each time. The communication was excellent as she explained the possible outcomes and worst case scenarios before each case. I couldn't have come into contact with a better lawyer. Kim is outstanding and she stays abreast of current changes occurring within our legal system. In instances when Kim personally couldn't be there, Jessica Marshall stepped in her place and did a wonderful job. Our last victory was culminated with Kim still giving her all to fight for me, when she was dealing with her own health issue; that honestly meant a lot to me because she was not only displaying her passion to fight for her client but her dedication to obtaining best possible solution for a father who was being denied his parental rights. All I can say is, if you're contemplating on hiring these wonderful women at Anderson and Boback, DO IT! You will not regret your decision because they will fight for you and they are just wonderful from the paralegals, to the lawyers, and partners they're TOP NOTCH! Not only in the state of Illinois but I'd put them against any lawyer nationally.read more
Bruce J.
I just want to say that Kimberly Anderson is an amazing lawyer!! She is smart and easy to talk too. She is willing to listen to you and what you want. She helped me in more ways than she knows. She always answers your calls or emails and if you don’t understand... something she is more than willing to explain it . She also won’t sugar coat things and has your best interest in mind. I will recommend her to anyone that needs a divorce lawyer. Also the people who work with her are friendly and always willing to help in any way they can.read more
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Jan Boback represented me in a domestic order of protection case. Her expertise and performance in court was nothing but stellar! She knew every aspect of the law related to this issue and very clearly communicated the conforming facts of the case to the judge. The... judge, even though they have full discretion, could not argue with Jan's facts, how they conformed and her very calm presentation. She read the judge's body language which has a big factor in court when you are dealing with a judge you've never been before in the past.Jan is nothing but outstanding at her job.I've referred her to others and will continue to do so.Deanread more
Dean K.
I was very grateful to do business with Janice Boback.I am a strong believer in God, Justice, and “Janice”.She expressed extreme knowledge in the law pertaining to my case. Her winner attitude and great communication skills always kept my mind at peace.The trust... connection and bond between Janice and I was priceless.I always felt protected under her guidance with complete awareness of the status and all possible outcomes to my case.She was always available to answer or explain any questions or concerns I had.She is truly the attorney to have if the situation arises.read more
Larisa H.
Kim Anderson has a knack for staying 1-step ahead of me and my thought process. This is extremely helpful in those moments when I am stressed on legalities and not quite thinking straight. Kim also capably breaks the legal speak into everyday terms that I can... understand. Kim is an excellent attorney who is prompt, diligent and professional. The team at Anderson & Boback was invaluable in guiding me through my divorce as well as resettlement issues that I initiated after the divorce. Thanks for all your help Kim!read more
Michael C.
Jessica Marshall was amazing! My divorce should have been an easy process, since we didn't have any children or assets; however the opposing party was adamant on making it complicated. Jessica not only kept me informed of everything that was happening but advised me on... the best course of action to get divorced within a reasonable time-frame and without it costing me everything I owned. I couldn't thank her enough once it was all over. I can now move on with my life and it's because of her.read more
Jenny R.
Jessica is Amazing! She is kind, thoughtful, detailed oriented. She is quick in responding. She is knowledgeable. She fought for me in court and not afraid to speak up for her client. She has this confidence in return I feel confidence. She gives me good advices and... helping me to make right decisions. I am so very grateful she is my attorney.read more
Daranee A.
Jessica Marshall sat with me and supported me from the moment of our first consult to the final court appearance. No question went unanswered, no call/email left unreturned, and no doubt that she was on my side and ready to work. Jessica handled my case with confidence... and empathy, which I greatly appreciate given court can, often times, feel overwhelming. Cost was worth every penny and I know that every dollar was earned. I am grateful that the outcome was in my daughter’s favor and that she is now safe. My daughter will be forever thankful for finally having her voice heard in court, as Jessica suggested, through a child rep. I also want to acknowledge Gianna Carabez, Jessica’s paralegal, for always being kind and available to take my calls.read more
Sara G.
I have worked with lawyers in the past, Jan I feel really took care of me! She always had time for me, was very good at getting back to me when she was busy. In court I could see she handled her self confidently and was respected by other lawyers and also the judge. I... have recommended her to friends and family and will continue to do so!read more
Jim B.
This practice will go above and beyond! During a difficult time they were understanding and helpful.Very responsive! I received a fair and favorable outcome. I recommend contacting them immediately to get the ball rolling.
Antiwon S.
After visiting with two other law firms, I selected Anderson & Boback. They are professional! The former office was bright and pleasant. The receptionists are professional. The attorney I was assigned listened to my story and then prepared a course of action. I am... glad I chose Anderson & Boback to handle my divorce case. I highly recommend them!read more
Richard P.
Kim came as a referral from a great friend of mine. This wasn't an easy process to go through, but Kim gave me great guidance and help along the way. Wouldn't have gotten the outcome I wanted without her and her team.
Meghan M.
In April of 2016, I had an urgent need for a family attorney to help me litigate some critical issues unresolved from my divorce decree ordered by the cook county family court in 2011. I interviewed 3 attorneys and ended up picking the last one I felt was the best out... of the three. What a mistake I made after two months of litigation and more than $10,000 legal fees. In July, I interviewed two more attorneys and I selected attorney Anderson to replace the previous attorney. What a switch I made! All the critical issues were litigated and resolved to my complete satisfaction. Attorney Andersen has a very simple way of serving her client: she will listen to my story and ask what legal outcome I am expecting to get, and she will recommend a course of action and get me the result in the most cost effective manner. In short, when you give your problems to attorney Anderson for solutions, you can go home and sleep well.read more
Dean C
Kim handled both of our adoptions for us and made the process so easy. When you’re overwhelmed with all of the legal details it’s so nice knowing you’ve got someone who will attend to them so you can focus on other things. Very professional and highly recommended!
Cd J.
In 2015 Ms. Anderson handled my divorce. She was professional and completely transparent with the process and what to expect. I would recommend her to anyone seeking a good family law attorney.
John A.
Kim is very professional and cared about your case. Always there when you need her. Thanks for all your hard work.
Kim S.
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    Firm Overview
    ANDERSON & BOBACK

    Anderson & Boback is a highly-respected, experienced Chicago family law firm, skilled in negotiation and litigation. When divorce and other family law issues make your life chaotic and uncertain, you want your case resolved as quickly and fairly as possible. Call Now 312-715-0870