When couples divorce, their children typically benefit if they spend time with both parents. To that end, the “right of first refusal” child care requires that a parent who needs child-care for a “significant period of time” must first offer the other parent an opportunity to personally care for the child before seeking a babysitter or alternative arrangements.
This situation can arise in any number of ways such as when a parent is scheduled to work, when a parent needs to leave on a business trip, or when a parent needs to attend to a personal matter requiring his or her absence for a significant period. If the parent needs to make plans for child-care, the parent may be obligated to extend the opportunity to the other parent to provide that childcare first.
When ordering a right of first refusal the court must consider:
The length and kind of child-care requirements that will trigger the right;
Parent notification procedures;
Transportation requirements; and
Any other action necessary to protect and promote the best interests of the child.
Of course, many parents want their children to enjoy a good relationship with both parents and will work together to maximize the time each parent gets to spend with the children. However, sometimes parents are unwilling or unable to set aside their differences and it can turn into a tug-of-war when it comes to parenting time. Some parents would rather leave their children with a babysitter, a relative, or anyone else other than the other spouse because they view their time with the children as “their time” and are unwilling to share.
Unfortunately, this situation is seen all too commonly by family law attorneys and typically it is not in the best interests of the children. Fortunately, there are strategies available to ensure parents are given the “right of first refusal”, potentially providing more time with their children.. Contact the Libertyville Law Offices of Schlesinger & Strauss LLC if you have a concern regarding parenting time arrangements today.