Right of First Refusal

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It is increasingly common for both parents to work in order to remain financially capable of providing for their children. Often, one parent will be available and willing to care for the child. This occurs even though it is not during their scheduled parent-time. This allows the child to spend more time with the parent. It also saves money that you would otherwise spend on daycare or childcare.

You can ensure you have the opportunity to care for your child in these situations. To do so you will need to include a clause commonly referred to as a Right of First Refusal. This clause, much as the name indicates, gives a party the right to care for the child if the other parent is working and they are available even when it is not their parent-time. When including a right of refusal clause, it is a good idea to address factors such as how long a parent must be absent in order for the other parent to have the option to care for the child, who will transport the child to and pick up the child from the other parent, how much notice a parent must give the other parent of an opportunity to care for the child, as well as any other factors specific to your situation.

How This Is Different In Utah

In Utah, the state divorce code advises that “Parental care shall be presumed to better care for the child than surrogate care and the court shall encourage the parties to cooperate in allowing the noncustodial parent, if willing and able to transport the children, to provide the child care. Child care arrangements existing during the marriage are preferred as are child care arrangements with nominal or no charge.” Ideally, both parents can work together to facilitate the schedule of all parties, including the child; however, it is wise to have a clause like this in place before an issue arises. There is no automatic right of refusal in Utah. If the parenting agreement does not explicitly state these rights, you could miss out on valuable child time. Please contact us to learn more about parenting plans and childcare.

Peter ChristensenRight of First Refusal