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Right of First Refusal in Boca Raton Child Custody Cases

What is one thing all Boca Raton parenting plans have in common? Each parent is guaranteed to spend less time with the children. But what if there were a way to make up for some of that lost time – say, when the custodial parent has to go out of town for work, or is having a girls’ night out on the town? Is the custodial parent required to give the other parent a right of first refusal for child care?

The Right of First Refusal in Child Custody Cases

A right of first refusal requires that the custodial parent (the parent currently caring for the child) give the non-custodial parent first choice to care for the child in the event the custodial parent cannot. For example, if the father has primary custody under the parenting plan and places the children in daycare while he is at work, he must give the children’s mother the first right to care for them during daycare hours (assuming she is not also working full-time and could care for the children). If she accepts, the time she spends caring for the children when they would otherwise be in daycare does not count against her time under the parenting plan. If she refuses, then the father is free to place the children in daycare.

Florida does not have a law requiring a right of first refusal in parenting plans. Instead, parents who want this type of arrangement will have to include it in the parenting plan. Some things to consider when drafting a right of first refusal include:

  • Whether there is a history of domestic violence between the parties;
  • How close the parents live to each other;
  • Transportation of the child during the refusal time;
  • The amount of notice the custodial parent must give the other parent to exercise the right;
  • The amount of time the non-custodial parent has to accept the right;
  • Whether the parents have a cordial enough relationship to accommodate the increased communication required in a right of first refusal, and;
  • Whether there are any situations where the right of first refusal would be excluded (for example, last minute emergencies).

If it is practical and safe to do so, negotiating a right of first refusal into your parenting plan provides each parent with the opportunity to spend extra time with their children.

Boca Raton Child Custody Attorneys

If you are negotiating a parenting plan and thinking of including a right of first refusal, the Boca Raton child custody lawyers at Schwartz l White can help. Drawing on more than 40 years’ combined experience handling child custody matters, our attorneys think outside the box when it comes to drafting parenting plans. Our goal is to create a plan that is both in your child’s best interest and maximizes the amount of time you are able to spend with your child. Call our office today at 561-391-9943 to schedule your free initial consultation to discuss whether a right of first refusal is right for you.

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