Right of First Refusal: What It Means in Your Parenting Plan
When it comes to divorcing or separating couples with children, courts allow them considerable latitude to craft a parenting plan that suits their unique situation. They do this because a judge does not have the time or insight to understand all facets of your family dynamics, including how you and your ex relate to one another or how each of you relates to your children.
Because the court will likely allow you to create a workable parenting plan, you and your ex can include terms and conditions that make the most sense for your present and future needs. One such potential term is called the “right of first refusal.”
The Right of First Refusal Explained
Within a marriage, childcare can be a significant hurdle to overcome. If you and your ex both worked while you were married, you may have had to find creative ways to address the childcare issue if you could not afford a babysitter or daycare. For instance, you and your ex may have worked different shifts so that there would always be a parent home to care for your child.
These challenges do not disappear once a divorce is filed. If anything, childcare issues can become even more pronounced. If you do not have family nearby and are used to your ex helping you with childcare, you may dread having to look for a suitable caregiver for your child. The right of first refusal seeks to alleviate these concerns.
The right of first refusal is a clause present in some Michigan parenting plans. It allows the non-residential parent to provide childcare for their children if needed. Under a right of first refusal clause, you can hire a sitter or enroll your child in daycare — but only after you have given your ex the opportunity to provide care for your child when needed. If your ex says they cannot do so, you can find other arrangements.
When the Right of First Refusal Makes Sense and When It Does Not
A right of first refusal clause may make sense for couples strapped for cash or living in an area with few childcare options. If you and your ex live close to one another, get along well as co-parents, and your schedules allow, a right of first refusal may be a good option to include in your parenting plan.
Conversely, if you and your ex live far apart, or there have been physical or emotional abuse concerns, a right of first refusal might not make sense for you.
Experienced Counsel in Preparing Your Parenting Plan
You are not required to add a right of first refusal clause to your parenting plan. Therefore, if you are divorcing or separating and your ex insists on including it, speak with a qualified Michigan child custody lawyer. Gucciardo Family Law is dedicated to helping you protect your child and your interests. We will assist you in deciding whether the clause would help or hurt you.
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We focus exclusively on family law matters so we are always available to answer your questions and help.
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