Ekker Law, P.C. / Steven B. Ekker, Esq.

Babysitters and The Right of First Refusal in Your Parenting Plan 

 Posted on September 23, 2022 in Family Law

Kane County Parenting Time LawyerWhen divorced or separated parents share children together, they often disagree about how much time the children will spend with each parent. Each parent's parenting time is described through a legally binding document called a parenting plan or parenting agreement. Unfortunately, reaching an agreement about the allocation of parenting time and other parenting issues is rarely easy. One common point of contention between co-parents involves the use of babysitters, nannies, and other third-party childcare. If you are an unmarried or divorcing parent, you will want to understand how to maximize your parent time through the "right of first refusal."

What is the Right of First Refusal?

Your parenting plan will include a parenting time schedule describing when the child lives with each parent. For example, a child may live with her father Monday through Thursday and live with her mother Friday through Sunday. The right of first refusal refers to a situation in which a parent cannot fulfill his or her parenting time responsibility. For example, if the mother from the previous example has to work over the weekend, she may not be able to watch the child.

In this case, the father would have the "right of first refusal." This means that he would have the opportunity to watch his child during the mother's absence before the mother can hire a babysitter. Essentially, the father is given the opportunity to accept or refuse the extra time with the child before the mother can look into other childcare options.

When and How the Right of First Refusal Applies

Parents should discuss when and how the right of first refusal will apply. For example, should the right of first refusal apply if a parent is only going to be absent for an hour or two? What if a parent is going to be gone for an entire day? It is also important to determine how the parents will communicate with each other when the situation arises. Will one parent send a text message or make a phone call? How much time does the other parent have to respond?

It is also important for parents to decide how the children will be transported between the two homes. Which parent is responsible for picking up and dropping off the children if there is a change to the parenting time schedule because of the right of first refusal?

The more detailed the parenting plan, the better. Co-parents who clearly understand their rights and responsibilities are less likely to experience miscommunications and conflict during their co-parenting relationship.

The right of first refusal can be an important tool for maintaining stability in a child's life, particularly if the child has a close relationship with both parents. If you have questions about how the right of first refusal may apply to your parenting plan, you should speak to an experienced Illinois family law attorney.



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