Under a new Illinois law that went into effect January 1, parents who have joint custody of their children are becoming the No. 1 choice when it comes to babysitting duty.
The law makes it possible for Illinois courts to grant one or both parents who share joint custody of their children the “Right of First Refusal” if the other parent should need a babysitter during his or her scheduled parenting time.
The theory behind this innovative law is that instead of trying to find a sitter, the other parent should at least be offered the extra time with the child.
The parents are allowed to set their own guidelines around how and when the Right of First Refusal should apply, so long as the parameters are in the child’s best interests.
If the parents cannot agree to a set of guidelines on their own, or if the guidelines are inconsistent with the best interests of the child, the court will step in.
As we discussed in a recent article on the topic, factors that will be determined by either the parents or the court include:
The type or length of needed childcare that prompts the Right of First Refusal rule
The type of notification the other parent will need when given the Right of First Refusal, and how that parent must respond
The type of transportation arrangements that would apply if the other parent provides the needed childcare
While this Right of First Refusal law (750 ILCS 5/602.3) presents an opportunity that many parents in Illinois are excited about, it also adds a layer of complexity in child custody cases.
An experienced family law attorney in your area can help with this issue as well as the many other important factors that must be considered in child custody matters.