Law Office of Vincent C. Machroli, P.C.
High Point Plaza, 4415 West Harrison Street, Suite 213, Hillside, IL 60162
High Point Plaza, 4415 West Harrison Street, Suite 213
Hillside, IL 60162



What Does the “Right of First Refusal” Mean in Illinois Divorces?

 Posted on February 28, 2021 in Divorce

Oak Park divorce attorney parenting time

When a couple with children gets divorced, they must make several decisions regarding the children’s care and upbringing going forward. In most cases, both parents will be awarded a designated amount of parenting time (visitation) depending on the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) between them. A "right of first refusal" is a subject which arises when a parent intends to leave his or her child with a caregiver for a portion of his or her normal parenting time; that parent must first ask the child’s other parent if he or she can watch the child instead. Parents may reach an agreement on this subject in their divorce, but if they cannot agree, the court will consider whether to award one or both parties a “right of first refusal” in connection with caring for a child during the other parent's regular visitation time. 

Parenting Time 

A substitute caregiver for a child might be a babysitter, a second spouse, a family member, a close friend or a neighbor. Any involved parties should always consider first and foremost the child's best interest. When the court awards a “right of first refusal” in an Illinois divorce, the judge's award will typically clarify the following: 

  • Duration of absence: How long the offering parent is going to be away that necessitates the offering of the “right of first refusal” must be clearly stated;

  • Alternate Care Options: Define the kind of alternate childcare options that would warrant the “right of first refusal”; for example, if a parent is called in to work for a few hours, and that parent intends to leave the child with a next-door neighbor instead of with a stepparent; 

  • Offer Concerns: It is important to define a notification protocol, such as how much advance notice must be given by the offering parent; also, specify how notification is to be delivered, via phone call or text messaging; 

  • Acceptance or Rejection: How long does the parent have to wait before accepting or rejecting the offer; if the offer is rejected, the offering parent will need time to make alternate arrangements; and,

  • Transportation: Procedures outlining who will drop off the kids and when, as well as designated or neutral locations.

Contact an Oak Park Family Law Attorney

As a divorced parent, you likely want to continue to be a part of your child’s life. That is why it is imperative to understand your rights so you can spend as much time with him or her as possible. At the Law Office of Vincent C. Machroli, P.C., we have over 33 years of experience in successfully resolving all types of divorce issues. Our highly-skilled Hillside, IL divorce lawyer will protect your parental rights every step of the way. Call us today at 708-449-7404 to schedule a free consultation. 




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