What Is The Right Of First Refusal In Child Custody?

In many divorce agreements, each parent may get what is informally called the “right of first refusal.”  What does it mean? And why is it important?

The best way to explain the usefulness of the right of first refusal is to give an example. Let’s assume that it’s your ex-wife’s weekend with the children, however, she has decided to go away for the weekend with one of her friends. She could have switched weekends, but, decided not to. Instead, she wants her mother or a friend to watch the children. But, wait you say, I’m free this weekend to watch the kids, let me do it, instead of your mother. If you have the right of first refusal, then you can asset this right and state, I have first right over your mother, friend or anyone else to watch the children.

The right of first refusal gives you the first option to watch the children when it is the other parent’s time with the kids, but, can’t do it. It usually only applies after a specified number of hours or days. So, it doesn’t apply, when the parent can’t watch the children for a short time (let’s say 8 hours or less).

If you have the right, it doesn’t mean you have to use it, it is your option. So, using the above example, if the ex-wife gives you the option to watch the children for the weekend, but, you can’t do it, then, you can say no.

The right of first refusal in child custody is useful as it makes sure that as one of the parents you get to watch the children before someone else does. It basically ensures “common courtesy”.

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