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 Brown Jason Brown

Jason Brown founded the Brown Law Offices, P.A. in 2003 after working for several years as an associate attorney in downtown Minneapolis. He graduated with honors from Mankato State University in 1997 and the William Mitchell College of Law in 2000.

Jason has…

Jason Brown founded the Brown Law Offices, P.A. in 2003 after working for several years as an associate attorney in downtown Minneapolis. He graduated with honors from Mankato State University in 1997 and the William Mitchell College of Law in 2000.

Jason has successfully litigated against some of the more recognized family law attorneys in the Twin Cities. He has been named a “Super Lawyer” by Thomson Reuters, and one of the Top 100 Family Law Attorneys in Minnesota by the Society of Legal Advocates.

In addition to his work as a lawyer, Jason serves as a mediator, and court-appointed early neutral evaluator, in divorce and family law cases throughout Minnesota. He frequently writes and speaks concerning divorce and family law issues, including several invitations to present seminars for the Minnesota Judicial Branch in St. Paul.

Beyond family law, Jason has represented hundreds of clients accused of a serious crime, including arson, fraud, unauthorized computer access, burglary, felony strangulation and obstruction of justice. He also provides estate planning services.

Local media appearances by Jason include WCCO Radio, KARE 11 Television, Fox 9 Television and WCCO Television. His national media appearances include NBC News, Time Magazine, USA Today and the Huffington Post.

Jason is the former chairperson of the Family Law Section of the Minnesota Trial Lawyer’s Association, and taught divorce and family law coursework within the paralegal program at North Hennepin Community College. He publishes the Minnesota Family Law Blog, which has been recognized as a “Top 25″ by the Minnesota State Bar Association.

Outside of the office, Jason enjoys playing the bass and electric guitar and spending time in the north woods of Wisconsin.


Areas of Practice
  • Divorce
  • Custody
  • Adoption
  • Restraining Orders
  • Prenuptial Agreements
  • Criminal Defense
  • Estate Planning
Notable Cases
  • Representation of Four Grandparents in Minnesota’s First Quad-Parenting Adoption
  • Representation of Client in Minnesota’s First Same-Sex Divorce
Bar Admissions
  • Minnesota State Bar, 2000
  • US District Court – District of Minnesota, 2002
Education
  • William Mitchell College of Law, 2000
  • Minnesota State University, Mankato, 1997
Joined Firm
  • 2003
Professional Associations & Activities
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Presenter, Various CLE Courses
  • Monthly Columnist, Minnesota Lawyer Newspaper