What Is Right Of First Refusal?

Child custody matters can be complex and contentious based on your relationship with your ex and the nature of your life. Some parents must contend with work, school, hobbies, extracurricular activities and other functions. With all of these activities swirling around your free time, it can be challenging to accurately portray what parenting time should look like during a divorce. One provision that can be added to a child custody agreement is the right of first refusal.

Experts agree that time spent with both parents is crucial to a child's growth and maturation. Rightfully so, parents are often concerned about the amount of time they get to spend with their children after a divorce. Many divorcing couples will include a provision called "right of first refusal" in their parenting plan.

When a parent cannot uphold his or her custody obligations — being called out of town unexpectedly, working over a school holiday, for example — right of first refusal states that the other parent should be called before a baby sitter or a relative who can watch the children. In many ways, this provision should be called the "right of first acceptance," because that is closer to the heart of the matter.

Planned And Unplanned Situations

This provision typically applies to both planned and unplanned situations. In the eyes of right of first refusal, there's no difference between being called into work in the evening and a date on a weekend. It can be difficult to reorganize your time or rearrange plans, but right of first refusal can certainly be a benefit to the children. While it might be easier to call upon a baby sitter in the same neighborhood or apartment complex, the children would likely appreciate the extra time spent with the other parent.

Ask An Experienced Georgia Family Law Attorney

If you need help writing a right of first refusal provision or you would like to modify your child custody agreement, an experienced lawyer can help. Get a free phone consultation by calling the Alpharetta office of Hecht Family Law at 678-926-9234. Our attorney can also be reached by sending an email.