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What is the right of first refusal?

The phrase right of first refusal means different things depending on what area of law one is discussing. In the world of family law, the right of first refusal refers to the option of one parent to watch a couple's children when the other parent needs child care.

The right of first refusal can be granted as part of an Illinois court's allocation of parental responsibilities order. Even though it is referred to as a right, first refusal is not automatic. The court has to decide that granting the right of first refusal is in the best interest of the children involved. While a court will still have to approve of their agreement, parents also have the option of negotiating how they will handle the right of first refusal between themselves.

Courts in the Peoria area have considerable discretion, or leeway, to spell out the details of a parent's right of first refusal. For instance, the court can specify on what occasions a parent can exercise her right of first refusal.

By way of example, a court may not require one parent to call up the other parent if she has to go on a quick errand and needs the neighbor to watch her children for a few minutes.

On the other hand, the opportunity for extra parenting time may need to be offered if a father wishes to spend an evening out and will need child care.

Courts have discretion to work out other aspects of the right of first refusal as well. As such, a parent interested in having some extra time to be with his children may wish to discuss the right of first refusal with his family law attorney.

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