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What is Illinois’ right of first refusal law?

From time to time, custodial parents in Lake County may need to leave their children in the care of a babysitter, or other child-care provider, for an extended period of time. Situations such as this can arise for any number of reasons, including business trips, regular work schedules or the need to handle family matters. Often, parents in these cases may not think, or want, to ask their child’s other parent. Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, parents may be required to first offer the right to watch their child while they are away to the child’s other parent.

When family law courts award joint child custody, or visitation, to parents, they may also order the right of first refusal under section 602.3 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. Depending on the order, this requires one or both parents to allow the other parent the opportunity to provide care for their child in the other parent’s absence. The exception to this is emergency situations, in which there may not be time to check with the other parent.

Generally, there are provisions included in right of first refusal orders, which are used to regulate and guide their enforcement. Perhaps the most common of these provisions are terms that would invoke this right, including the length of time that a parent will need childcare. With few exceptions, such orders will include stipulations for how much advance notice a parent must give the other parent of their need for childcare. Additionally, these orders typically specify how long the other parent has to respond to the request. Some right of first refusal orders may also include transportation requirements.

This post has provided a general overview of Illinois’ right of first refusal law. However, it is important to remember that each case is unique. Therefore, this should be considered general information, and not be taken as professional legal advice. 

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