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Shared Parenting Time and the Right of First Refusal

 Posted on July 12, 2016 in Visitation

Lombard family law attorneyMany divorced or separated parents often struggle with their new reality of limited time with their children. This is quite often the case for a parent who has been granted a relatively lesser amount of parenting time compared to the other. While you may understand logically that creating an equal parenting time schedule is not truly possible in most cases, knowing that does not make it any easier to be away from your children. There is a way, though, to include extra possible parenting time in your agreement with your ex. It is called the right of first refusal and, when utilized properly, this right can offer both parents and the child substantial benefits.

Understanding First Refusal

When you have precious little time with your child, you may be looking for any and all possible ways to see him or her more often. Changing permanent arrangement or schedule can be rather complicated, but including the right of first refusal is fairly simple. When the right of first refusal is part of your parenting agreement, it means that your child’s other parent is required to offer you the chance to care for the child when he or she would otherwise need to make other childcare arrangements. In short, this means additional parenting time opportunities for you. As the name implies, you have the right to refuse the opportunity, but if parenting time is at a premium, may be unlikely to turn down such a chance.

Developing a Reasonable Plan

In order to make the right of first refusal work best, you and the other parent will need to reach an agreement on how and when the right will be invoked. Depending on your living situation, for example, it may be unreasonable for you to care for the child while the other parent runs to the store for 45 minutes. Rather, you may decide to reserve the right for an entire evening out or full-day childcare needs.

You will also need to establish how you will each let one another know about your child-care needs, and how long you each have to decide on whether you will take your child. Cancelling at the last minute can not only lead to trust issues between you and your child but can also harm your co-parenting relationship severely. Transportation and other considerations must also be taken into account, though you could elect to leave those decisions to be made at a later time, assuming you can work well with the other parent.

Helping You and Your Child

By including the right of first refusal in your parenting plan, you may get to enjoy extra parenting time with your child. Your child is also likely to feel that he or she is a high priority to you, creating an important sense of self-worth that is too often lacking in children of divorce and broken relationships. For help developing or amending your parenting plan, contact an experienced Lombard family law attorney. We are ready to provide you and your child with the assistance you need and the compassion you deserve.



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