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Entries in Illinois (1)


Right of First Refusal passed in Illinois

Illinois unanimously passed the ‘Right of First Refusal’ on May 22, 2013 (HB2992, 98th Session).  Illinois becomes the first state to explicitly call for consideration of the ‘Right of First Refusal’ in a parenting plan or court order. 

‘Right of First Refusal’ is a guarantee that any time a parent needs someone to watch the children, they must ask the other parent first. This gives a parent the opportunity to watch the children when the other parent has them.

As an example, let’s say that the mother of two little boys needs to go on a two day business trip during the week when she has custody. Instead of calling a babysitter or another family member to watch the children, she must first call the boys’ father and give him the right to have the two days with the children. If he refuses, then she can find someone else to watch them.

It is the responsibility of the parent with the children to notify the other parent no later than 24 hours from the time of first learning of the need to leave the children. It is the responsibility of the other parent to respond within 24 hours of notification. It is the responsibility of parent with the additional parenting time to provide all transportation.

The court is given the maximum discretion in determining if ‘Right of First Refusal’ is in the child’s best interest. Once determined, the court issues an order that includes provisions regarding a) what would trigger the invocation of right of first refusal, such as the length of time the parent will be away from the child, b) how much advance notice the parent with the child must give the other parent, c) the amount of time by which that parent must respond, and d) transportation requirements.  The court takes into account the distance between parents, and whether a parent has restricted or denied visitation for any reason. 

Currently, Massachusetts has similar legislation pending to Increasing Parental Involvement with Childcare, HB1343. Also, Indiana and Utah both have legislation which provides a similar opportunity, but does not explicitly call for such consideration.