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Does your custody agreement need a first right of refusal?

If you are going through a divorce, you already may have decided to share custody of your children with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. After all, he or she loves your kids and deserves to play an integral role in their upbringing. Furthermore, according to Psychology Today, collaborative parenting tends to be good for kids.

Before you jump into your new custody arrangement, you and your soon-to-be ex must lay out some ground rules. To do so, you should negotiate and finalize a comprehensive child custody agreement. For a variety of reasons, you may want to include a first right of refusal in it.

What is a first right of refusal?

A first right of refusal clause in your custody agreement requires your co-parent to give you the chance to babysit when he or she is not available to watch the kids during his or her parenting time. In fact, your ex must ask you before asking anyone else to provide childcare.

How does a first right of refusal help you?

A first right of refusal helps you in a couple of meaningful ways. First, you have an opportunity to keep your ex from allowing an irresponsible person to care for your kids. Second, you may get to see your kids more frequently than your custody arrangement contemplates. That is, you may be able to see your children even when it is not your regular parenting time.

When drafting a first right of refusal, it can take some time to get the wording right. Ultimately, by bringing up the subject early in your custody negotiations, you have ample opportunity to get some buy-in from your soon-to-be ex-spouse.