Breeding Olinzock Carter Crippen

First right of refusal clauses change custody agreements

Both you and your children's other parent want the best for them. Nonetheless, parenting in a post-divorce family can be extraordinarily challenging. If your ex-spouse is frequently unable to care for your kids during his or her scheduled visitation time, you may want to add a first right of refusal clause to your custody agreement

Put simply, a first right of refusal provision requires your former spouse to offer you the ability to care for your kids in his or her absence. While these clauses are not right for every co-parenting situation, they have the following three major advantages.

1. Retain some control 

You may not agree with every parenting decision your ex-spouse makes. Most decisions, though, do not have serious consequences. If you think your former partner has a habit of leaving your kids with someone you dislike, you may worry about their well-being. While you likely have to try to accept your ex-partner’s new love interest, a first right of refusal clause allows you to keep some control over who cares for your kids. 

2. Extend your parenting time 

If you share physical custody with your former spouse, you probably miss your children when they are not with you. A first right of refusal clause allows you to extend your parenting time by requiring your former spouse to ask you to care for the kids when he or she is unavailable.

3. Provide flexibility 

You may not feel any animosity toward your former partner. Helping out when your ex-spouse cannot care for your kids is a good way to earn some goodwill. Note, a first right of refusal clause does not require you to take the kids in your ex-spouse’s absence. It merely gives you the option to do so. 

The best custody agreement is the one that works for you and your family. Still, you can add certain provisions to make the document more effective. A first right of refusal clause may be right for your situation.

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