The most influential people in most children’s lives are undoubtedly their parents. Children look up to their parents for everything and rely on them to give them the guidance they need to develop into emotionally stable and successful adults. For this reason, the family courts always strive to give equal amount of parenting time to divorced parents. However, while the concept of shared parenting may seem simple in practice, the truth is that it presents a lot of complications that non-divorced couples do not typically have to think about. Certain clauses in the shared parenting agreement can help negate some of those issues or, at the very least, advise them on how to handle them. One of those clauses is the Right of First Refusal clause.
What is Right of First Refusal?
Right of First Refusal is one of many clauses that ensures that each parent gets as much parenting time as possible. In terms of custody, Right of First Refusal basically means that one parent must offer the other parent the opportunity to look after the child in lieu of a babysitter or other family member. This clause applies to both last minute and planned events. For instance, if one parent plans a camping trip with his buddies three months in advance, he must first offer the other parent that time with the child, even if it is not her week or weekend. The same goes for a night out planned a day in advance; if the mom wants a last minute a girls’ night out, she must contact the father to see if he can watch the child while she is out with her friends.
The other parent is not required to take the child; if one refuses the offer, the parent with plans can simply turn to a friend, family, or babysitter for short term care. The clause is simply in place to ensure that each parent gets as much parenting time as possible with his or her child, and that the child is not spending time with a babysitter when he or she could be spending quality time with a parent.
Using Right of First Refusal Effectively
Though the Right of First Refusal clause was designed to help parents avoid conflict, like most things that have to do with custody, conflict is inevitable. When using Right of First Refusal, some parents try to rearrange parenting time. While this is fine if the other parent is in agreement, it can cause issues if he or she is not, and if a parent wants both the babysitting time and the regular parenting time. One thing to keep in mind when enacting the Right of First Refusal is that the other parent is doing you a favor, and if you do not want to relinquish time with your child, plan accordingly so that your camping trips and nights out fall on weekends when you do not have your child. Additionally, provide as much notice to the other parent as possible, as he or she may have plans too.
Hire the Help of a Dallas Custody Attorney to Implement a Right of First Refusal Clause
If the Right of First Refusal clause sounds like a clause you and your former spouse can benefit from, reach out the Dallas post divorce modifications and enforcement attorney to make the necessary changes to your parenting schedule. If the other parent is not on board with making the changes, our attorneys at the Law Offices of Udeshi Clark & Associates can negotiate with his or her lawyer, who can hopefully convince your ex that such a clause is in your, your child’s, and his or her best interest. To schedule a private consultation with a member of our family law firm today, call 469-906-2226.
(image courtesy of Cedric Brule)