Parents often face the problem of having to go to work or somewhere else of importance and they need someone to care for their child. This situation arises in marriage many times, but it also happens after a couple has divorced. When a couple is married, the situation is not so problematic. Either one of the parents can watch the children, or the parents will agree on a babysitter. After divorce, the situation becomes much more complicated. So, what do you do if you are divorced and need to leave your child with someone else? It may depend on what your divorce agreement says.

The Right of First Refusal

Until recent years, Illinois law did not specify what should happen when someone other than the parents needed to watch the children. However, on January 1, 2014, a new law took effect that gives the other parent the right of first refusal. This legal statute requires parents in certain situations to offer the other parent the right of first refusal to watch the child.

For example, Parent A and Parent B may share joint custody of their child. The child may stay with Parent B for the weekend, but Parent B is called into work and needs a babysitter. If the couple’s divorce agreement stipulates a right of first refusal, Parent B will have to provide Parent A with the first opportunity to watch the child, before asking anyone else. If Parent A cannot watch the child, Parent B can then ask anyone they choose to watch the child.

Terminating the Right of First Refusal

Like other terms of any divorce, a couple may choose to include a right of first refusal in their divorce agreement, or a judge may order it. When a judge orders a right of first refusal, they will consider:

  • The length of time the child will be in someone else’s care
  • The amount of notice given to the other parent
  • Transportation requirements and if they are feasible
  • Any other factor that pertains to the best interests of the child

Also like other terms of a divorce, just as a judge can order a first right of refusal, they can also terminate the order. Judges will do this any time a parent’s rights are terminated, or when changes are made to a child custody order.

Our Illinois Family Lawyer can Help with Your Custody Case

Parents often understand that child custody cases are going to be complicated, but they have no idea just how involved they can get. It is for this reason that it is so important to speak to a skilled Hinsdale family lawyer that can prepare you for everything the hearings may involve, and give you the best chance of a positive outcome. If you are going through child custody hearings and need sound legal advice, call our knowledgeable attorneys at the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio at 630-920-8855 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.