Friday, January 24, 2014

Right of First Refusal

The right of first refusal is now the law in Illinois for family law cases.  House Bill 2992 that went into effect January 1, 2014, amends the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.  The new 750 ILCS 5/602.3 specifically states that if the court awards joint custody or visitation rights, the court may consider, consistent with the best interest of the child, whether to award one or both parents the right of first refusal to provide child care for the child during the other party's parenting time.

For purposes of this statute, "right of first refusal," unless otherwise agreed upon by the parties, 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.

If you have been following this act you will have noticed that the final language is actually different than how it was originally introduced in the Illinois legislature.  Originally, the proposed change would have been mandatory on the court and spelled out that the time frame had to be more than four hours before the act was triggered. The statute that is now in effect at least leaves it up to the judge's discretion as the final arbiter of the best interest of the child in a custody dispute, but it leaves the "significant period of time" in which this child care would take place open to interpretation.

Best Regards, 

Jon D. McLaughlin
Bloomington Law Group LLC
Flanagan State Bank Building
2401 East Washington Street
Bloomington Illinois 61704
Skype: jmclaug2

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