New Law: Right of First Refusal to other Parent

The Illinois Legislature has amended the Law in Illinois by adding a section that provides that if a court finds that it is in the best interest of a child, a court may award one or both of the parents the right of first refusal to be with and care for the child during the other parents parenting time if they are not available to care of the child.

The law provides:

If the court awards joint custody or visitation rights, the court may consider whether to award to one or both of the parties the right of first refusal to provide child care for the minor child during the other parent’s normal parenting time, unless the need for child care is attributable to an emergency.

The law has defined “right of first refusal” to mean 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 the minor child. The parties may agree to a right of first refusal that is consistent with the child’s best interest.

If there is no agreement and the court determines that it is in the best interest of the child to incorporate this “right of first refusal” into an order, this court will be required to make provisions for

  1. The length and kind of child care requirements
  2. Notification to the other parent and response
  3. Transportation, and
  4. Any other action necessary to protect and promote the best interest of the minor child

We work on many cases where the parties agree to incorporate the “right of first refusal”; however, now if there is no agreement there is a way to obtain such a right.

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