Do I have to assume all transportation responsibility when exercising my right of first refusal?


Ex and I have joint legal/physical custody of kids Ages 6 and 5. We have equal parent time and joint decision making. Decree states we cannot move more than 50 miles away without mediating. Also states that we agree parental care is better than surrogate care and we each have the right of first refusal. Also states we are to divide all transportation responsibilities.

I moved 16 miles away from my ex and I am a stay at home mom. He is now stating that unless I agree to all transportation responsibilities then he is denying my right of first refusal. Is this an easy order to show cause? I normally do pick up on his days that he works and he picks them up after work. Now he is demanding I drop them off to him too. I have exercised my ROFR for 2 years and he is now putting them in daycare.


If your divorce decree does not specifically require you to provide transportation both ways in order to pick up the children at school on his days, you do have the right to exercise surrogate care. The decree will govern. Neither party can make new demands that are not included in the decree without getting the court to order those new requirements. That being said, this is a fact sensitive issue. In order for you to prevail on a contempt motion, you should show that you have gone to pick up the children after school on his days, but have been denied the right. His emails may be one way to prove this denial.

An order to show cause is the right way to enforce your rights. However, showing contempt is not ever easy. You should consult with an attorney about how to best approach this issue. You may also want to consider a mediated resolution even though it is not required by the decree. For more information see our mediation blog post.