Effective January 1, 2014, Illinois has passed a law specifically authorizing the right of first refusal with respect to child care. The right of first refusal is an express provision in an Order that basically states that whenever a parent needs someone to watch the children, he or she must ask the other parent first. This gives parents the opportunity to watch their own children when the other parent is unavailable, even if it is not his or her designated parenting time.
The new law is found at 750 ILCS 5/602.3 and specifically reads as follows:
“Sec. 602.3. Care of minor children; right of first refusal.
(a) If the court awards joint custody under Section 602.1 or visitation rights under Section 607, the court may consider, consistent with the best interest of the child as defined in Section 602, whether to award to one or both of the parties the right of first refusal to provide child care for the minor child or children during the other parent’s normal parenting time, unless the need for child care is attributable to an emergency.
(b) As used in this Section, “right of first refusal” 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. The parties may agree to a right of first refusal that is consistent with the best interest of the minor child or children. If there is no agreement and the court determines that a right of first refusal is in the best interest of the minor child or children, the court shall consider and make provisions in its order for:
(1) the length and kind of child-care requirements invoking the right of first refusal;
(2) notification to the other parent and for his or her response;
(3) transportation requirements; and
(4) any other action necessary to protect and promote the best interest of the minor child or children.
(c) The right of first refusal may be enforced under Section 607.1 of this Act.
(d) The right of first refusal is terminated upon the termination of custody or visitation rights.”
Please consult an attorney for further details or to discuss the new law and how it might affect you.