Getting a right of first refusal provision in a custody agreement

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in child custody on Thursday, January 2, 2020.

Parents in Kansas who are going through a divorce may be concerned about how much time they will get to spend with their children. A noncustodial parent may want to introduce what is called a “right of first refusal” provision into the child custody agreement. This means that if one parent cannot care for the child and would need to have a sitter or another family member do so, that parent must first give that chance to the other parent.

Parents may set up what are known as “hours of alternate care.” These blocks of time should correspond to when a parent is most likely to need someone to look after the child. Typical blocks are for overnight or for eight or four hours. One example might be a parent who has an unpredictable work schedule and is frequently called in for a certain amount of time. Going first to someone else to care for the child in these circumstances would be considered a violation of the custody agreement.

Parents who do ask for a right of first refusal provision should be aware that it works both ways, so both custodial and noncustodial parents would be required to give the other parent a chance to step in. This can mean the child has more quality time with both parents.

Parents who are going through a divorce do not necessarily have to end up in litigation. Many parents are able to successfully negotiate an agreement for child custody and visitation. If they do have to go to court, the standard a judge will use is that of the best interests of the child. A family court usually works from the position that the child will benefit from time with both parents unless the child is in danger with a parent.

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