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Three Facts About the Right of First Refusal

Posted on in Divorce

IL family lawyerParents in Will County, IL who are getting divorced or modifying their joint parenting order must create a legally binding document stipulating the decision-making responsibilities and parenting time schedule of each parent with their child. This document is called a “parenting plan.” Parents are encouraged to work together to create a parenting plan that meets the needs of the children while making sense for both parents.

The “right of first refusal” is an important piece of any parenting plan. Designed to maximize the time a child can spend with each parent, the right of first refusal requires divorced or separated parents to contact each other, rather than a babysitter or family member when they need additional child care. This article contains three helpful facts about the right of first refusal in Illinois. If you have any questions about the right of first refusal, contact a Lockport family law attorney right away.

The Right of First Refusal Only Applies Under Certain Circumstances

Parents must stipulate the circumstances that require offering each other the right of first refusal, including how long the absence from the children must be. The law on this matter is intentionally somewhat vague, referring to the time a parent might be away from the child as a “significant period of time.”


IL divorce lawyerNow more than ever, technology allows us to do all kinds of things online. Activities that were only possible face-to-face just ten years ago have now become ubiquitous in the online world. Among the explosion of online utilities now available is a wide variety of legal services that allow users to do anything from creating a will to getting a divorce.

These services advertise themselves as easy, less expensive alternatives to in-person legal counsel from a qualified attorney. Although in some cases this may be true, it is certainly not always wise to use online divorce technology, and doing so may end up costing you significant amounts of time and money in the long run.

Is it Ever a Good Idea to Use Illinois Divorce Websites?

There are many reasons that a “do-it-yourself” divorce may seem appealing. Low costs, faster processing time, and fewer complications all sound great - especially if you are trying to separate from a hostile spouse as soon as possible.


IL divorce lawyerFor children who are born to married parents, establishing paternity is easy: The mother is obviously the mother, and the mother’s husband is assumed to be the father. However, when two people are not married, establishing the parentage of a child can pose some challenges.

Parents must seek to establish legal paternity for their child another way. Because Illinois law is deeply concerned with the wellbeing of a child and seeks involvement and support from both parents, courts will often issue Orders of Paternity in order to establish who is the child’s legal father. Before a court does this, however, it will need to determine who is the father; for this reason, genetic testing is often used.

What Is Genetic Testing?

We receive our genes, or genetic material, from two people: Our father and our mother. DNA testing compares the genes of a child to the genetic material of his or her parents. This DNA can be obtained in a variety of ways, including blood, hair, bone, or other body fluid samples, but the most common method of gathering DNA is through a simple cheek swab. This does not hurt a child.


joliet divorce lawyerEven under the best of circumstances, Illinois parents getting divorced with young children at home face a number of difficult challenges. In addition to the loss of the relationship, parents must figure out how to tell the children about the divorce and attempt to help them process their emotions.

Professionals in divorce and child psychology have developed strategies for minimizing the negative impacts of divorce on children and families. With careful planning and a commitment to avoid blame and hostility, parents can help children through the transition so they may continue to have healthy, loving relationships with both adults. 

Practice the Conversation Together First

Experts suggest planning and practicing what you will share with your children ahead of time. Choosing the right words can be difficult in the heat of the moment. A practiced conversation can help parents avoid conflict and strong emotional reactions, allowing them to focus on the child’s reaction and needs. 


Joliet Family Law AttorneyIf you are a parent getting divorced in Illinois, you likely have questions about child custody. Many parents understandably worry about how a divorce will impact the amount of time they spend with their children. Some parents have additional concerns about how the other parent’s ability to care for the child appropriately. Regardless of your particular situation, if you are getting divorced in Illinois, it is important to understand Illinois laws regarding child custody and parenting time.

How is Parenting Time Decided in an Illinois Divorce?

Although we still use the term “child custody” to refer to general parenting duties after a divorce, this term is technically outdated. Illinois law now uses the term “allocation of parental responsibilities” to refer to parents’ decision-making authority and “parenting time” to refer to the time parents spend caring for their children.

Parents may design whatever parenting time schedule works best for their particular situation. If the parents can agree on a parenting time arrangement, they can submit the agreement to the court for approval as part of their parenting plan. Unless there is a reason that the parenting time agreement would not be in the child’s best interests, the court will approve the agreement and formalize it into a legally binding court order.

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