Effective January 1, 2014, Illinois included the Right of First Refusal in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act under 750 ILCS 5/602.3. The right of first refusal means that if a party intends to leave the minor child or children with a substitute child care provider for a significant period of time, that party must first offer the other party an opportunity to personally care for the minor child or children. Therefore, the parent with the right of first refusal will provide child care for the minor child or children during the other parent’s normal parenting time unless there is an emergency. The parents may agree to a right of first refusal, or if both parents are allocated parenting time, the court may award either or both parents the right of first refusal if it is in the best interests of the child.
If the court orders a right of first refusal, it shall make provisions for:
(1) The length and kind of child care requirements invoking the right of first refusal
(2) Notification to the other parent and for his or her response
(3) Transportation requirements
(4) Any other action necessary to protect and promote the best interest of the minor child or children
The right of first refusal is terminated upon the termination of the allocation of parental responsibilities or parenting time custody or visitation rights.
For example, the Second District held it was an abuse of discretion for the trial court not to consider whether to grant mother the right of first refusal when father used a babysitter during times that mother was available to care for the children. In re Marriage of Rogne, 2015 IL App (2d) 140943-U