3652 Hector Lane
Naperville, IL 60564

(630) 470-9990
Contact us, today!

Divorce Q&A: What is the Right of First Refusal?


If you have minor children, you’re going to have a parenting plan as part of your divorce. Typically, this parenting plan is called a Joint Parenting Judgment or, more commonly, an Allocation of Parental Responsibility Judgment.

The Right of First Refusal is going to be part of your parenting plan as part of Illinois law. This gives you the right to spend more time with your children if your soon-to-be former spouse, or former spouse, can’t.

Defining the Right

Your parenting plan will establish what time you’re entitled to with your children, as well as the time your former spouse is entitled to. Generally, this is the schedule you’re supposed to follow on a week-to-week basis. However, life happens, and you may be unavailable during some of your scheduled parenting time.

The right of first refusal is designed for these situations. If you have parenting time, and are supposed to be with your children but can’t be, the right of first refusal allows you to contact your former spouse and offer them the parenting time before finding a third-party – like a babysitter or family member – to watch the children instead.

This right is almost universally offered in divorce cases, and is only withheld if there is a good reason to do so.

Not all Rights are the Same…

Though the right of first refusal is offered in many Illinois divorces, the right doesn’t always look the same from case to case.

For example, your parenting plan will establish what is a “significant period of time” for the right to kick in. For example, it might be several days, rather than a few hours. Or, it could be just a couple hours, depending upon what the parents want and what the court determines to be in the best interest of the children.

Learn More About Your Rights and Parenting Time at Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd.

The right of first refusal is something that you’re almost sure to encounter in your divorce. And, because parenting plans are written and entered before your divorce is finalized, it’ll be one of the earlier issues addressed in your case.

Larry Surinak is a Naperville divorce lawyer with over 36 years of experience. If you’re considering divorce, and want to learn more about how parenting plans and other aspects will work, contact Larry for your free, 30-minute consultation at 630-470-9990. Or, if you prefer, you can fill out our simple online form to request an in-office consultation.

Concentrated on Family Law

Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd. is a law firm concentrating solely on family law and has served clients in DuPage, Will, Kane, and Kendall counties for over 35 years.

Schedule a Free Consultation

If you need advice, help, want your questions answered or need representation, complete the form below and click the Submit button to request a free 30 minute confidential consultation.

A member of our firm will review your information and contact you within 48 hours to schedule in your consult.

If your request is urgent or time critical, please call our office on (630) 470-9990

Contact Us

  • We will not contact you by email unless you specify this as your preference.
  • Please describe your situation or the legal services you're interested in.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

About Attorney Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd.

Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd. is a law firm concentrating solely on family law and has served clients in DuPage, Will, Kane, and Kendall counties for over 35 years.

We continue to work with clients in Naperville, Wheaton, Lisle, Oswego, Downers Grove, and the surrounding areas to provide one-on-one support and attention that will help you through this difficult time.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at any time. We look forward to offering our expertise and support to you throughout your case and after.