Chicago child custody lawyerIf you and your spouse have decided to divorce, you will be tasked with creating a child custody agreement that will work for both of you as well as for your child. You will want to make sure that you have a solid parenting plan in place so that there are stability and routine for your child during this time of transition. One issue that you may have to consider is whether the right of first refusal should be included in your child custody agreement.

The right of first refusal is the right of one parent to be given the opportunity to care for their child before anyone else. This means that if the other parent is unable to care for the child for any reason, the parent with the right of first refusal would be contacted first to see if they are available to fill in. This may mean that grandparents or other family members would only handle care for children if the other parent is unavailable.

There are a number of reasons that the right of first refusal may benefit you, your spouse, and your child. However, there are some downsides to consider as well. By evaluating the circumstances of your specific situation, the needs of all parties involved, and the best ways to avoid potential conflict, you can determine how to handle issues related to the right of first refusal as you determine how to handle child custody during your divorce.

The Pros and Cons of the Right of First Refusal

There are both pros and cons to including the right of first refusal in your parenting plan. Some pros include: 

  • It can provide stability and continuity for your child by ensuring that they will be in the care of a parent whenever possible.

  • It can give both parents a sense of involvement in the child’s life, even if they are no longer living together in the same home.

  • It can help build a strong and lasting relationship between the child and the parent who has less parenting time.

  • In some cases, it may prevent conflict between the parents and provide the parent who has the majority of the parenting time with options when child care is needed.

Some cons to consider include: 

  • The child’s routines can be disrupted if they will be spending time with a parent outside of the normal parenting time schedule.

  • It can sometimes be difficult to coordinate transitions between the parents’ households or determine how transportation for children will be handled.

  • Parents may encounter disputes about when the right of first refusal will apply and when a parent will need to contact the other parent to offer them the opportunity to care for the child.

In Illinois, parents are not required to include the right of first refusal in their child custody agreement. However, they are free to add these terms if they believe that it will provide for their children’s best interests. When addressing this issue in a parenting plan, clear, easy-to-understand language should be used to ensure that both parents understand when they will need to contact each other, how communication will be handled in these situations, and which parent is responsible for providing transportation for the child.

Contact a Chicago Child Custody Lawyer for the Right of First Refusal

Whether or not you include the right of first refusal in your child custody agreement is up to you and your spouse. Ultimately, what is most important is that you create an agreement that provides for the best interests of your child and that you can both adhere to. At [[title]], our Cook County parenting plan attorneys can help you understand your options and provide you with strong and effective legal representation throughout the divorce process. To schedule a free consultation and learn how we can help you address issues related to child custody, call our office at [[phone]].


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