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Parenting time: the right of first refusal

Divorcing parents in Illinois often have conflict over who will spend what time with the kids. As a Chicago divorce lawyer, I find that one way to maximize each parent’s time with the kids is to include a “right of first refusal” in a joint parenting agreement (JPA).

You may contact me, Chicago divorce lawyer David Wolkowitz online – and read below to learn a bit about the right of first refusal.

What is a right of first refusal?

It is never easy to allocate parenting time in an Illinois divorce or child custody dispute – but the right of first refusal can help make this easier. Right of first refusal in custody situations commonly means that one parent must first offer the other parent the opportunity to look after their kids before contacting a babysitter or another family member to care for the children.

Right of first refusal typically applies to both planned and last minute situations. Therefore, if a parent makes plans for night out with friends two months, or even two days, prior to the actual event, they must offer the other parent the option to care for their children before making any other arrangements. If the other parent decides not to take the kids during this time, then a third party caretaker such as a friend, babysitter or other family member may be asked to care for the children instead. Right of first refusal may also apply to situations such as doctor’s appointments, vacations, after school daycare, and many other instances.

Benefits of the right of first refusal

The right of first refusal helps parents avoid conflict because it helps maximize each parent’s time with the children.  Further, when the right of first refusal is included in a JPA, parents are more likely to keep each other informed – and that can lead to better parenting. Ultimately, some of the stress inherent in divorce can be reduced.

Dealing with your custody issue

I know that visitation and parenting time can be one of the most contentious issues in a divorce. As an Illinois family law attorney, I think helping my clients spend as much time as possible with their children is one of my most important goals.

If you are concerned about your time with your children, that’s understandable.You might be interested in a consultation with me, Chicago divorce lawyer David Wolkowitz. You may contact me online or at Three-One-Two-554-5433 .

About the author: Contact Illinois family law attorney David Wolkowitz at 312-554-5433 or online. He is a family law and divorce attorney serving Chicago and the Counties of Cook, Champaign, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will. Areas of practice include divorce, uncontested divorce, child custody, visitation, spousal maintenance, child support, and the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction & Enforcement Act (the “UCCJEA”).