Should My Parenting Agreement Include a Right of First Refusal?

 Posted on April 12, 2021 in Child Custody and Visitation

parenting time for divorced dadsIf you’re a dad who is going through a divorce, you’re likely to be worried about spending less time with your kids. Unfortunately, this is an issue that is going to be unavoidable, since the time that your children spend with one parent is time that they won’t be with the other parent. You’ll need to adjust to not being with your kids every day, but you’ll also want to make sure you can spend time with them at every available opportunity. One way you can do so is by making sure your parenting agreement includes a “right of first refusal” clause.

What Is the Right of First Refusal?

Your parenting agreement will include detailed information about when your children will spend parenting time with you and your ex-spouse. A daily schedule will specify the days and times when your kids will be with each parent, and your agreement will also cover holidays, school vacations, and any other days where you will deviate from the normal schedule. However, there may be some days when either you or your ex will not be able to have parenting time with your kids as scheduled. These situations may be addressed by including a “right of first refusal” in your agreement.

The right of first refusal is a clause stating that when one parent will be unable to provide care for your children during their scheduled parenting time, they will be required to contact the other parent and see if they are available to watch the children before making other arrangements, such as hiring a babysitter or having kids stay with relatives. Essentially, the other parent will be given the first opportunity to have their children stay with them, and other arrangements can only be made if the parent refuses to take the children during that time.

Different states have different laws regarding whether the right of first refusal is required in a parenting agreement or whether it is an option that parents can choose to include. If you do decide to include the right of first refusal, you and your ex may be able to agree on the specific terms that will apply. For example, you may specify that the right of first refusal will apply if a parent will be unavailable for a certain number of hours, which can help avoid conflict over whether one parent should have contacted the other because they were busy for a short amount of time. You may also address how you and your ex will notify each other in these situations, how far in advance notice must be given, how children will be transported between your homes, or what to do if plans change at the last minute.

Get Legal Help With Your Parenting Agreement

As a dad, you may worry that your divorce will result in you being sidelined in your children’s lives, so you will most likely want to make sure you can spend time with them whenever possible. As you and your ex negotiate the terms of your parenting agreement, you’ll want to work with a divorce lawyer who can advise you of your rights and help you find solutions that will meet your family’s needs. By having a legal advocate on your side, you can make sure your children’s best interests will be put first during your case.



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