Right of First Refusal is an option that you and the other parent would craft to best suit your circumstances.
When it comes to child custody, the option of a Right of First Refusal means that you have the right to possession of the children during your former spouse’s regularly scheduled time if they aren’t going to be with the kids. If your former spouse will be away from the children for a certain length of time and the children would otherwise be cared for by a paid childcare provider, you would have the first right to take care of the kids. Instead of hiring a paid caretaker for the kids, the other parent must let you know the time frame and give the opportunity to have the children stay with you during that period of time. This Right of First Refusal is an option that you and the other parent would craft to best suit your circumstances. It is a creative option – not a statutory right.
How short of a period of time is needed to invoke the Right of First Refusal?
The length of time can depend on a case-by-case basis and what’s in the best interest of the children. An overnight trip or 8 to 10 hours on a weekend, are the usual circumstances parents agree to which would qualifies for the Right of First Refusal.
But then several questions can arise:
- What if the former spouse gets remarried and the kids would be supervised by the new spouse?
- What if the former spouse’s parents are in town and it’s important for them to spend time with their grandparents?
Ultimately, a good co-parenting relationship allows you to work out childcare that is in the best interest of the children.
Having family to help with childcare situations gives you an opportunity to continue to have good relations with your in-laws.
Parents can also switch weekends. In Texas, the parties can mutually agree in advance to any schedule they want. Good parenting means that the parents work together in caring for and providing care for their children.