Should you insert a first right of refusal in your custody plan?

On Behalf of | Oct 2, 2022 | Blog, Child Custody

Even in ideal marriages, it is not uncommon for parents not to see eye-to-eye about all child-rearing matters. After all, according to Psychology Today, there are four distinct parenting styles. If you and your spouse rarely agree on how to parent your kids, your disagreements can lead to divorce.

It can be exceedingly difficult to change anyone’s parenting style. Consequently, if you intend to split physical custody of your children with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, you are likely to have to defer to his or her parenting style, this is especially during your non-parenting time.


During his or her parenting time, your co-parent is unlikely to be able to be with your children at all times. Being occasionally absent, of course, requires your ex to pick a childcare service, nanny or babysitter to watch the kids. Usually, this type of decision falls squarely within a custodial parent’s decision-making authority.

Parental rights

Even though your soon-to-be ex probably can pick whatever childcare solution he or she wants, you may be able to maintain some control over who watches your children. A first right of refusal requires your co-parent to give you the opportunity first. If you decline, your co-parent can pick someone else.

Custody agreements

Before you divorce your spouse, you have a prime opportunity to negotiate a first right of refusal. These provisions often cut both ways, though. That is, you also may have to give your ex the chance to watch your children when you are not available during your scheduled parenting time.

Ultimately, a well-written first right of refusal protects your kids from ending up with a bad babysitter, while allowing you to spend as much time with them as possible.

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