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Kane County family law attorneyFollowing 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?

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Kane County family law attorneysIf you are a parent whose time with your child has been limited due to a divorce, it can be very difficult for you to maintain the relationship with your child that you wish to have. This may be especially true if the other parent has been granted a majority of the parenting time and you only see your child a few days each month. Illinois law, however, allows parents in such a situation to include provisions in their parenting plan that could create extra parenting time opportunities under certain circumstances.

Defining the Right of First Refusal

Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), your parenting plan should address what is called “the right of first refusal” regarding your child. If you have the right of first refusal, it means that the other parent must contact you and offer you the opportunity to care for your child if the other parent would otherwise need to find a sitter or alternative child care. Depending on how your parenting is structured, you may be required to offer the same opportunity to the other parent if and when you need someone to care for your child. It is important to note that including the right of first refusal in your parenting plan does not obligate you to accept every such opportunity; the right of first refusal refers to optional additional parenting time.

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