Illinois’ new ‘Right of first refusal’ law

Illinois’ new ‘Right of first refusal’ law

It is not uncommon in a divorce for one parent to be named the custodial and the other non-custodial.

The custodial parent generally has the physical or legal custody of their children. Meaning their children live with them day-to-day, and the non-custodial parent receives visits or overnight stays.

A new provision under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act requires the custodial parent to give their ex-spouse the right to watch their children, instead of hiring a third party childcare provider, in the event they will be away from home for a significant period of time.

The “right of first refusal” law took effect on Jan. 1, and was added to ensure that both parents receive adequate time with their children. A couple going through a divorce can have the “right of first refusal” added to their divorce decree, which grants one or both, parties the right.

However, the right is not presumed under the law, meaning if nothing is added to the divorce decree then the court would have to grant the parent the right to watch their children instead of leaving a friend or other family member in charge.

Courts will always rule in the best interest of the children, and will also presume that spending time with both parents is good for a child’s development. Other factors, such as a history of abuse will work into their decision on granting the right of first refusal.

The court will consider several other factors when determining whether to implement the right, which include the length of time the custodial parent will be gone, how to notify the non-custodial parent, and how that parent should respond, transportation and other factors brought up by the parents.

Every divorce case is different, and the bottom line is both parents want what is best for their children. Coming to an agreement is important not only for exes to move on, but also for the development and growth of the children.

For more information on divorce and co-parenting, please feel free to contact The Law Office of Bradley R. Tengler in Rockford, IL at 815-981-4859 for a free consultation. Please note, the above does not constitute legal advice. Please discuss your specific rights with an attorney in your own jurisdiction.

Source: Illinois Family Law, “New Law: Right of First Refusal for Child Care,” Carolyn D. Jansons, Jan. 8, 2014.

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