Child Custody And Right Of First Refusal: What Custodial Parents Need To Know

When ironing out a custodial agreement during a divorce, some parents will opt to have a right of first refusal clause written into the divorce agreement. This clause requires the custodial parent to offer the noncustodial parent the chance to care for the children instead of placing them with a babysitter or other care provider. Setting up this type of arrangement ensures that the noncustodial parent gets to spend as much time as possible with the kids. If you have custody of your children and your former spouse has right of first refusal, here are a few things you need to know.

It Applies To Every Situation

Whether you need someone to care for your children because you have a last-minute emergency or you have a long-planned event, your former spouse needs to be given the opportunity to care for the children. If you fail to abide by this condition of the custody arrangement, your ex may try to use it against you in a subsequent custody hearing. Remember to stay in constant contact with your ex regarding when your children need after-school care, babysitting services or overnight care. Your former spouse won't necessarily be available in every situation, but sticking to the terms of the divorce can help to create a more pleasant atmosphere between you. Right of first refusal can get complicated if you start dating again, as your former spouse will know that you are on a date when he or she is watching the children. If you are uncomfortable, contact your family lawyer. You may be able to make different arrangements that help you to maintain your personal life without interference from an ex, even if he or she has right of first refusal.

Visitation Doesn't Have To Happen At Home

Right of first refusal may mean that your former husband or wife gets to care for your children when you aren't able to, but that doesn't mean you can't control the situation. You can require your ex to care for your children outside of your home if you don't feel comfortable having him or her in your house. You can also request to have your former spouse meet you in a public place to transfer the children to his or her care. If you have trouble getting along, this may be a good option for you, as being in public can help you both to stay on your best behavior. Your family lawyer can help you to negotiate terms for public transfers of custody so you always feel safe when meeting with your ex.

Rearranging Your Schedule Can Help

If you find that you are spending less time with your children than your former spouse, you may want to consider reworking your custody schedule and parenting calendar. This can help you to have custody during times when you aren't at work, so you can enjoy spending time with your kids. It also benefits your former spouse, as visits with the children won't be last-minute events. Your spouse can plan activities and special time with the kids, giving everyone a better chance to strengthen the family bonds after the divorce. Your family lawyer will be able to help you iron out a new agreement that benefits everyone in the situation.

Right of first refusal doesn't have to make your life more difficult. Work with your family lawyer like Law Offices of Lynda Latta, LLC and your spouse to ensure your custody agreement makes sense for everyone.