What’s the Right of First Refusal in Florida Parenting Plans?
Many divorced parents who create a parenting plan are confused about the so-called “right of first refusal” provision. What is the right of first refusal, and what role does it play in parenting plans?
What’s the right of first refusal?
The right of first refusal is often included in parenting plans signed by divorced parents in Florida. Basically, this is the provision that allows a parent to spend extra time with them when the other parent cannot care for the child during their designated custodial period.
When one parent is unable to care for the child due to work or other circumstances, the other parent must be given the opportunity to spend additional time with the child.
Basically, the right of first refusal means that a parent must first give their ex-spouse the opportunity to care for the child before contacting a daycare, babysitter, or another family member to watch the kids.
Under the right of first refusal provision, if the parent who was offered to care for the child agrees to provide the care, they must be allowed to spend additional time with the child during the other parent’s designated custodial period.
However, if that parent refuses or is otherwise unable to care for the child during the timeframe, the other parent can proceed with placing the child with a daycare, babysitter, or another care provider.
Things to consider when using the right of first refusal provision in your parenting plan
As mentioned earlier, many parenting plans contain the right of first refusal provision, but not all parents understand what it means or what needs to be considered before including the right in the plan.
As a rule of thumb, it may not be the best idea to include the right of first refusal provision in your parenting plan if the other parent has a history of child abuse or domestic violence. Similarly, the provision may inadvertently cause unnecessary and avoidable conflicts and tensions if you are not on speaking terms with the other parent.
Prior to using the right of first refusal provision in your plan following a Florida divorce, consider the following things:
- The distance between your household and that of your ex-spouse;
- Who will provide or pay for transportation if one parent agrees to spend additional time with the child;
- When one parent must offer the other parent to care for the child to exercise the right of first refusal;
- How much time the other parent has to respond to their former spouse’s offer; and
- Under which circumstances offering the right of first refusal would not be necessary.
The right of first refusal can be an important element of your parenting plan. However, it’s vital to consider the pros and cons of including the right of first refusal in the plan. Consult with an Orlando custody and timesharing attorney to discuss your particular situation and help you draft a comprehensive and effective parenting plan.
Schedule a consultation with our family lawyers at Greater Orlando Family Law by calling 407-377-6399.