The right of first refusal is a legal provision that allows your co-parent the opportunity to be there for your children before deciding to leave them with a family member or hire a third-party childcare provider.
Because spending time with both parents is generally in the best interest of the child, this is a common clause to include in a custody and visitation agreement.
How often and for how long do you need child care?
When including a right of first refusal in your parenting plan, it is important to designate a time stipulation. Otherwise, you may find yourself legally obligated to call your ex every time you go to the store for eggs and milk. Instead, your agreement can state that the clause takes effect if you must be away from your children for longer than a specified number of hours.
How close is your ex?
Distance is an important factor in co-parenting decisions. If your ex lives around the block, it may be very convenient to conduct short-notice drop-offs and short-term visits. If you have an hour commute each way, it may be better to let your neighbor watch your little ones while you run your errands.
How well do you and your ex communicate?
Will it be a fight every time you need to work late, run errands or see the doctor? Before you opt to implement the right of first refusal in your case, you should assess your co-parenting relationship.
While you and your ex are dealing with your issues in the New Jersey family court, you can still prioritize equal parenting and maximize bonding time for your children.