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Changes Coming To Illinois Joint Custody Laws

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right of first refusal

On January 1st, 2014, a new law concerning Illinois joint child custody rules went into effect. Illinois General Assembly House Bill 2922 (“HB 2922”) amends the current Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, and provides both parties to a joint custody and/or visitation agreement with a "right of first refusal" concerning the childcare of a minor child.

HB 2922 amends the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, and provides parties who share joint custody of a minor with a “right of first refusal” regarding childcare chosen for their minor child. Under the amended law, if either parent/guardian needs to leave the child for four hours or longer, that same parent must first provide the other party sharing joint custody with the opportunity to watch the child in lieu of using alternative childcare. Thus, a party with joint custody must allow the other party the chance to care for the child before using a babysitter, family member, or secondary spouse for childcare purposes.

Furthermore, HB 2922 requires that the parties must agree with a right of first refusal that is in the "best interests of the child.” But, if such an agreement cannot be met, the court will step in to make the determination of whether this right of first refusal should be applied in the case at hand in order to fulfill the “best interest of the child” standard. It is important to note that HB 2922 only applies to court awarded visitation and joint custody rights. Under HB 2922, the parent exercising the right for additional parenting time must also provide the necessary transportation for the minor child, unless otherwise agreed upon with the other party. The joint custody visitation rules provided by HB 2922 will allow those parties who share custody to spend more time with their minor children.  This is because it provides both parties with a right of first refusal before alternative childcare is arranged. However, in some situations you may be required get a legal order from the court declaring that the right of first refusal is in the best interest of your minor child. Whatever the case you should make sure to contact the family law attorneys at The Law Offices of Cosmo Tedone and Barbara Morton, P.C in Joliet and Plainfield, Illinois for all of your joint custody and visitation issues.
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