Family law is incredibly personal, especially when it deals with custody and parenting time. Deciding on the specifics of a parenting time agreement can be difficult and complex. Even with a written order, situations or unforeseen obligations may arise that both parents cannot anticipate during their normal parenting time. Flexibility is needed in any custody arrangement. By including clauses in your custody agreement such as a right of first refusal, both parties can maximize their parenting time while encouraging quality time with the other parent.

What is the “Right of First Refusal?”

The term “right of first refusal” is a commonly used phrase amidst custody and parenting time matters. A clause is often added to an agreement or order to specify what will happen when an “on-duty” parent is not available to care for the child during their parenting time. The right of first refusal outlines when one parent must contact the other regarding the care of a child. This means the “off-duty” parent will receive the option for parenting time if the “on-duty” parent is not available to care for the child for a specific amount of time. If the off-duty parent is not available to care for the child, the on-duty parent can move forward with other childcare arrangements such as daycare, family members, or babysitters.

The specifics of a right of first refusal is often negotiated between the parties and outlined by a court order.  It can apply to overnights or set blocks of time such as four or six hours. Having a written agreement, which includes a right of first refusal, can help to limit conflict between the parties and save on childcare.

Whether you are debating the right of first refusal or other common custody clauses, the language of an agreement is important. Your agreement will be the standard and outline for all that pertains to custody and parenting time. A poorly written agreement can result in unnecessary conflict and confusion. It is important to have an experience lawyer look at your agreement to insure it is legally sound.

If you have questions regarding custody or right of first refusal, contact our office today. Our qualified family law attorneys are here to help. To schedule your consultation, call our office at (763) 323-6555 or submit an online contact inquiry through our website.

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Photo of Jason C. Brown Jason C. Brown

Jason C. Brown has represented a wide variety of family law clients over the last 20 years, including teachers, homemakers, union construction workers, doctors, truck drivers, accountants, business owners, engineers, lawyers, mortgage brokers and Fortune 500 executives. Many of his cases have involved…

Jason C. Brown has represented a wide variety of family law clients over the last 20 years, including teachers, homemakers, union construction workers, doctors, truck drivers, accountants, business owners, engineers, lawyers, mortgage brokers and Fortune 500 executives. Many of his cases have involved complex custody disputes, alimony claims, and high net worth individuals, including several divorces in which the value of the marital estate exceeded ten million dollars. Every client, no matter their background, is important to Jason.

Jason routinely provides mediation services for family court litigants. He was a longtime board member and corporate secretary for Northgate Church in Ramsey. Early in his career, Jason served as law clerk to the Honorable Timothy R. Bloomquist, retired Chief Judge of Minnesota’s Tenth Judicial District.