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In Divorce And Other Family Law Matters

What is the right of first refusal in child custody?

On Behalf of | Jan 19, 2024 | Child Custody |

The right of first refusal in child custody is a provision that can be included in a parenting agreement or court order. It mandates that before seeking alternative child care, such as a babysitter or family member, the parent who has parenting time must first offer the other parent the opportunity to take care of the child.

The right of first refusal is designed to give both parents every opportunity to be involved in their child’s life. Only if the other parent declines can the parent in need of assistance arrange alternative care.

Benefits of this arrangement

This arrangement can potentially benefit a former couple’s child by allowing more time with both parents, which fosters a stronger bond. It also respects the parenting rights of both parties by ensuring that both have equal opportunities to be involved in their child’s life. It can also reduce the need for external childcare.

Case-specific considerations

The specifics of the right of first refusal can vary. These specifics include the minimum amount of time away that triggers the right, how and when parents must communicate offers and any exceptions to the rule.

Guidelines need to be clearly defined to avoid misunderstandings and conflicts. This parenting plan provision should also include how much notice each parent must provide and how quickly the other parent must respond when notice is served.

Dealing with the right of first refusal can be challenging in some cases. Seeking legal guidance is, therefore, generally a good idea when one or both parents is unsure of how to navigate this process effectively.