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naperville child custody lawyerWhen parents who have minor children decide to end their marriage through divorce, they will need to address multiple issues related to child custody. As parents work to negotiate a parenting plan, they will decide how parenting time (formerly known as visitation) will be divided. While this will entail creating a schedule that states when children will live in each parent’s home or spend time in the care of a parent, parents will also want to make sure other issues related to parenting time are addressed properly.

Additional Parenting Time Concerns

In addition to providing a complete understanding of when children will stay with each parent, a parenting plan can also address rules and issues that affect parenting time, including:

  • Communication - Both parents will want to maintain communication with their children, and one parent may want to check in on them while they are with the other parent. However, a parent may be concerned that too much communication with the other parent would interfere with their parenting time, or they may not necessarily want to give the other parent a window into their home. Parents can set rules for the appropriate times for calls between parents and children and the methods of communication they may use (such as phone calls, video calls, text messages, or email).

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What Is a Parent’s Right of First Refusal in Illinois?The parenting time schedule that parents create during a divorce is the best estimate of what times of the week each parent will be available to care for the children. There are always special circumstances in which a parent may be unavailable during their normal parenting time. Maybe your job needs you to stay late or travel for a meeting. Your best friend may have invited you to their birthday celebration. You could become sick to the point that you temporarily cannot function as a parent. If your children are too young to care for themselves, you will be looking for another caregiver, such as a relative, friend, or babysitter. However, some parenting agreements include the right of first refusal, which requires you to offer your co-parent the chance to care for the children before anyone else.

How Do You Create the Right of First Refusal?

The right of first refusal is not implied in Illinois. Your parenting plan must state that each parent will have the right of first refusal, which you can add yourselves or a court could require. When parents cannot agree on the right of first refusal, a court may decide to include it in the parenting plan if it would be in the best interest of the children.

How Does the Right of First Refusal Work?

Each parenting plan has its own terms for when and how the right of first refusal will be activated, which either you or the court will define. Key factors you must define include:

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