Determining whether the right of first refusal is a good idea

You and your child’s other parent want what is best for your child as you negotiate the terms of your parenting plan. At The Law Center P.C. in Colorado, our team often works with parents to determine how best to set up the schedule to meet the needs of the children according to the court’s guidelines.

One of the clauses you may include in your custody order is the right of first refusal. However, as Our Family Wizard points out, this clause is not a good idea for everyone. Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of the right of first refusal.

The definition

When one parent has things to do and cannot be with the child during his or her regularly scheduled parenting time, calling on a family member, babysitter or other child care may seem like the natural solution. However, the right of first refusal clause orders that the time first be offered to the other parent.

The benefits

Instead of your child spending the day with someone else, he or she gets the benefit of extra time with the other parent. The clause also may result in better flexibility and communication between parents as you share your schedules and inform each other of where the child will be if neither of you is available.

The disadvantages

If you and the other parent have a conflict-filled relationship, the extra communication could result in more opportunities for disputes. It also gives each of you a glimpse into the other’s life which may not be welcome. If the clause is not carefully worded, it could result in your child missing out on time with grandparents, friends or social activities.

Because the clause is optional, whether or not it is right for your custody agreement is up to you and the other parent. Once it is part of the agreement, though, you must both follow it. More information about parental rights and the parenting plan is available on our webpage.

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