Right of First Refusal – When It Won’t Work

mom and two kidsWhether you and your partner were married and need a divorce or simply in a long-term relationship, separating and starting two separate households often requires a lot of restructuring and rearranging of daily schedules. In the optimal situation, you and your soon to be former spouse or partner will work together to create a new visitation schedule that is tailor made for the new family structure and organization.  Agreed parenting plans can be an excellent way to make sure that your custody arrangement is one that really works for your family, and one way to achieve that is to insert certain provisions that a court may not usually consent to apply.  One of these provisions is the right of first refusal.

With the right of first refusal, if the parent who is exercising visitation is not able to watch the child because of another obligation, such as work, then that parent must first contact the other parent to see if he or she would like to watch the children.  This provision is mean to make it such that the parents will have the most opportunities possible to spend time with the children, instead of the parents relying on babysitters or other family members.  Although this can be a good tool for some parents, there are some times when the right of first refusal may not benefit your custody schedule.

One situation when it may not work is if you and the other parent will be living far away from each other.  An hour distance may not be a huge amount when considering exchanging the children once a week, but it can be excessive when simply having to pick up a child because the other parent has to stay late at work unexpectedly.

Another situation is when you and the other spouse have a highly contentious relationship.  The right of first refusal is heavily dependent on the two parents’ ability to communicate effectively and civilly.  If you are unable to easily communicate with the other parent, it will be difficult or even impossible to coordinate extra pick up and drop off times.

Finally, some children simply do not do well with unexpected schedule changes.  In some cases, some children will do much better and feel more stable if instead of extra time back and forth between children, they receive extra care from a trusted caregiver inside of your home.

If you have questions about different options for your custody case, call us today at (651) 371-9117.  We can talk with you about your children and your goals.