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Who Takes Custody of My Child If My Ex Goes Away?

 Posted on June 26, 2024 in Divorce

Kane County, IL child custody lawyerBy law, parents who get divorced in Illinois must submit a parenting plan to the court. This is a document that shows the judge how the parents plan to raise their child together after the divorce. It includes such details as:

  • Schedules for parenting time, or physical custody

  • Transportation arrangements

  • Provisions for communication with the child during the other parent’s parenting time

  • Parental rights and responsibilities

  • Allocation of decision-making responsibilities

Parenting schedules are set out in the parenting plan, which is legally binding and should be drafted by an Illinois parenting plan attorney. However, sometimes unexpected things happen. Your co-parent may have to leave for an emergency during his or her parenting time. In that case, you may want to take physical custody of your child instead of a third party, such as a grandparent or babysitter. That is called the right of first refusal and should be included in your parenting plan.

What Is the Right of First Refusal?

The right of first refusal means that if your ex cannot take your child when it is his or her parenting time, you can take physical custody instead. Only if you refuse can your ex then make arrangements with a third party. For example, if your ex had a death in the family and must fly out of state for the funeral, then you would have the right of first refusal.

Keep in mind, however, that the right of first refusal does not apply to all situations. If your co-parent runs out on a quick errand, for instance, it is not practical for him or her to have to offer you the right of first refusal. This is especially true if you and your ex live far away from each other. Make sure to ask your attorney to include appropriate provisions for the right of first refusal in the parenting plan.

Is the Right of First Refusal Automatic?

Parents do not have the right of first refusal by default. That is why it is important to stipulate it in the parenting plan that is submitted to the court. If a parenting plan is not submitted, or if the right of first refusal is not included in the parenting plan, a court may put it in for the parents. This means a judge would decide on the provisions for the right of first refusal based on what he or she thinks is in the child’s best interest.

Contact a Kane County, IL Parenting Plan Lawyer

The right of first refusal is an important part of the parenting plan, which in turn is one of the most important parts of the divorce process. Make sure your parenting plan is drafted by an experienced Geneva, IL parenting plan attorney. The attorneys at Serrano Hanson have years of experience in creating detailed, effective parenting plans. Call us at 630-844-8781 so our skilled and knowledgeable lawyers can do the same for you.

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