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The Right of First Refusal in a Child Custody Case


The specific terms of a parenting plan will depend on the circumstances of the parties involved, as well as what type of arrangement is deemed to be in a child’s best interests. There are, however, some provisions that tend to crop up again and again in parenting plans, regardless of the parties’ circumstances, one of which is the right of first refusal. This right ensures that if one parent is unable to care for a child during his or her allotted parenting time, then the child’s other parent must be given the opportunity to visit the child before a babysitter or other third party can be called in.

This right plays an important role in strengthening the bonds between a child and his or her parent, so if you are getting divorced and have questions about including this type of provision in your own parenting plan, or you currently share custody with a former partner and that individual is failing to respect your right to first refusal, you should speak with an experienced Fort Lauderdale child visitation & time-sharing lawyer who can explain your legal options.

What is the Right of First Refusal?

Life can get busy, so it is not uncommon for one parent to be unable to fulfill parental responsibilities for a brief time during his or her scheduled visitation with a child. For instance, a parent may have a doctor’s appointment or need to work during his or her allotted time. In these cases, parents with a right of first refusal provision in their parenting plans must give a child’s other parent the opportunity to step in and provide childcare during that time. Only when the other parent says that he or she cannot supervise the child can the first parent ask a third party to watch the child during his or her regular period of visitation.

Right of First Refusal Guidelines

When a situation presents itself in which the right of first refusal comes into play, the parent who cannot care for a child for a brief time must give the other parent at least 24 hours notice of the conflict in his or her schedule. This period of time gives the other parent an opportunity to rearrange his or her schedule around a former partner’s family emergency, unscheduled work-related activity, or illness. Only when the other parent cannot step in and care for a child can the parent with the conflicting schedule arrange for alternate childcare, either from a babysitter, daycare service, or relative.

When considering including this type of provision in a parenting plan, couples should be sure to carefully assess a number of factors, including whether there is a history of domestic violence in the relationship, the distance between the parties’ homes, and how long a parent has to accept or deny the right of first refusal.

Get Legal Support Today

Before you include an important provision like the right of first refusal in your custody arrangement, please call dedicated child visitation and time-sharing lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. to learn more about the pros and cons of this type of arrangement. Call 954-945-7591 to set up an appointment today.





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