Let’s think about this scenario…It is Mom’s weekend for visitation but she is going to go with friends to Kansas City for a weekend shopping trip. Mom calls her good friend “Mary” who is not attending the trip to ask if she will stay with the kids while she is gone…Seems like a pretty simple situation doesn’t it. Well not if you are a divorced parent with a right of first refusal clause in your divorce decree!
A right of first refusal clause states that if any parent, during his/her parenting time, is unable to care for the children for a certain amount of time (as agreed to between the parties or imposed by the court) he or she, as the case may be, will need to first offer his/her parenting time to the parent BEFORE having the children stay with a daycare provider for that period of time.
In divorced families where communication is good, this provision in a decree creates little if any conflict. The problem arises in high conflict families wherein the tendency at times is for one of the parents to completely ignore the provision and deny the other parent visitation. The conflict that ensues is not only detrimental to the children but can result in litigation for violation of the terms of the decree.
It is important at the onset to define what event/timeframe will trigger the right of first refusal to avoid unnecessary conflict. The right of first refusal must be tailored to each individual family to avoid confusion and misapplication. Seeking the advice of an attorney before entering into an agreement on the right of first refusal, among other areas, is advisable.
For more information on this or similar issues please contact Shannon Simpson at Simpson Legal Group, LLC today at (712) 256-9899.