Right of First Refusal Can Be Included in Your Custody Agreement

first refusal, illinois law, DuPage County Family Law AttorneyIf your parenting time with your child is regulated by a child custody agreement, you probably consider the time spent with your children to be very special. This may be particularly true if you are not the primary residential parent, as your interaction with your children may feel somewhat—if not severely—limited. A provision in Illinois law, however, may offer parents a way to get extra time with their children in certain situations by allowing the courts to include the right of first refusal in child custody orders.

Right of First Refusal Defined

The right of first refusal provision was added to the IllinoisMarriage and Dissolution of Marriage act in 2014. When the right of first refusal is included in a custody or visitation order, it requires a parent needing child-care for an extended period of time to offer the other parent the opportunity to care for the child. Such an offer would temporarily override the existing visitation or parenting time schedule, in effect, allowing the other parent extra time with the child. The right of first refusal does not require the other parent to accept the offer; it only requires that the offer be made.

Necessary Details

Custody or visitation orders may include the right of first refusal by agreement of the parents or at the discretion of the court. As with most other aspects of child-related matters, the court will only permit the inclusion of such rights if they are determined to be in the best interest of the child.

To put the right of first refusal into action, the parties or the court must establish a series of ground rules that apply to specific family situation. The law was written with a great deal of flexibility so that the needs of each family could be appropriately addressed. The order must include:

  • The child-care requirements, including length and reasons, that would invoke the right of first refusal;
  • How and when communication between the parents must take place;
  • Arrangements or provisions for transportation;  and
  • Any other considerations the parents or the court find necessary to promote the child’s best interest.

If you are subject to a child custody or visitation order that went into effect before 2014, and would like to have the right of first refusal added to your order, contact a knowledgeable DuPage County family law attorney. At the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C., we have helped hundreds of families with their child custody and visitation concerns issues and are equipped to help you. Call 630-409-8184 to schedule your free consultation today.

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