A previous post on this blog talked about what a parent can do if he or she does not feel that the other parent is spending enough time with the couple’s children, and one suggestion pertained to what Illinois law calls “the right of first refusal.” This subject warrants further discussion since it can affect many parents in Rockford, Illinois.
Although it is ideal when parents can agree on the right of first refusal, it is actually something that a parent can ask for under Illinois law even if the other parent is not agreeable. The only prerequisite for asking is that the parent making the request have some court-ordered parenting time already.
The court does not need to award the right of first refusal and will, in fact, consider a number of factors before doing so. For instance, the judge will examine whether there are actually significant babysitting needs that the other parent could fill.
Practical considerations, like whether the parent needing child care will be able to contact the other parent and whether the other parent will be able to transport himself or herself to a place where he or she can babysit will also play a role in the judge’s decision. As with all other child custody matters, the goal is the do what is in the best interest of the child.
Parents should also remember that the right of first refusal is not unlimited. For instance, a parent can get a third-party sitter in an emergency, and he or she can also rely on someone else for relatively short periods of time, such as a quick 10-minute run to the grocery store.