The Right of First Refusal Could Increase Your Parenting Time
Following a divorce or breakup between two people who have children together, it is common for one parent to be granted a majority of the parenting time. Equal parenting time, in many cases, is impossible or impractical due to scheduling or geographic complications. In other cases, it may be in the child’s best interest to spend significantly more time with one parent than the other.
If you are a divorced, separated, or unmarried parent who has been given less parenting time than your child’s other parent, it can be difficult to maintain the relationship you desire with your child. Fortunately, Illinois law provides a way for you to possibly get additional parenting time by including the right of first refusal in your parenting agreement.
What Is the Right of First Refusal?
The right of first refusal can be complicated to explain, but it is fairly straightforward in practice. When you have the right of first refusal, it means that you are automatically first in line when your child’s other parent needs childcare during his or her parenting time. In short, the other parent must offer you the chance to spend extra time with your child before finding a babysitter. Because the right is one of “first refusal,” you are under no obligation to accept the extra parenting time, but the other parent must make the offer.
Setting the Rules
Illinois law does not provide a standard for how the right of first refusal should be set up if it is included in your parenting arrangement. This means that you and your child’s other parent are free to create a set of rules to match your unique situation. If you decide to include the right of first refusal, you will need to determine the circumstances under the which the right will apply. First, you and the other parent should set a minimum amount of childcare that will make the offer necessary. For example, you may decide that if the other parent has an obligation for three hours on a weeknight, the right does not apply, but if the obligation is a full day or on a weekend, the right does apply.
Next, you must also set rules regarding the amount and method of notice that is expected and how long you have to respond. You may, for example, decide that you need at least two days’ notice and that the other parent must make an actual telephone call to make the offer. Upon receiving the offer, you may agree that you have 24 hours to make a decision about whether to accept.
Finally, you and the other parent will need to establish who will be responsible for transportation. This could also be decided on a situational basis.
Contact Us for Help
To learn more about how the right of first refusal could give you extra time with your child, contact an experienced Kane County family law attorney. Call 630-549-0960 for a confidential consultation at MKFM Law today.