What is First Right of Refusal and How Does it Work?

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You filed for divorce and worry about who’s going to care for your child when not with you because your spouse works swing shift or often travels overnight for work. Or maybe next Monday is a school holiday, your former spouse has parenting time that day but has to work and you don’t. Shouldn’t you be able to care for your child before a relative or baby sitter?

According to Section 602.3 of the IMDMA, the right of first refusal means that if a parent intends to leave a child with a substitute child-care provider for a significant period of time the other parent must first be notified and offered the opportunity to care for the child. The general idea is that it is in a child’s best interests to spend time with a parent, as opposed to someone else.

An award of a right of first refusal should identify the minimum duration of absence triggering the notice requirement, alternate care options (e.g., maybe leaving the child with a stepparent does not trigger the notice requirement under certain circumstances), rules for notice of offer including how and how soon before the event occurs must the other parent be notified, rules for notice of acceptance/rejection including how and how soon after notice and before the upcoming event must the offer be accepted/rejected; and transportation protocols.

If you have questions about first right of refusal or another family law matter please contact Arlington Heights divorce attorney David Saxe of SAXE LAW LLC at 224.800.1351 or dsaxe@davidsaxelaw.com to schedule a consultation.