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Right of first refusal clauses in shared-parenting agreements

Parenting in a post-divorce family often presents some unique challenges. Still, as long as you focus on the best interests of your kids, you are likely to do a perfectly fine job. When drafting a shared-parenting agreement, you and your former partner enjoy some latitude in negotiating terms. Including a right of first refusal clause may make sense. 

Under a right of first refusal clause, if a co-parent must ask someone to care for the kids, such as a babysitter, he or she must first offer the other parent the opportunity. In Ohio, judges may not insert these requirements into shared-parenting agreements without both parents’ consent. 

Maintain some control 

Following your divorce, you may feel like you have lost control over your family. A right of first refusal provision allows you to have some input regarding who watches your kids. That is, if your ex-spouse is unavailable, you can step in. Most of these provisions typically do not require your former partner to inform you about possible alternative caretakers. 

Lend a helping hand 

Finding good childcare can be both difficult and expensive. Accordingly, agreeing to take the kids during your non-custodial time may be a big help to your ex-spouse. Even better, he or she may return the favor when you cannot watch the kids during your parenting time. 

Provide consistency 

If you want to see your children as frequently as possible, inserting a right of first refusal clause may be advantageous. The provision may also help your kids adjust to their post-divorce situation. That is, because your children already know you, they are likely to feel more comfortable with you than with a babysitter. 

Right of first refusal clauses are often beneficial for both parents and children. If you are negotiating a shared-parenting agreement, you may want to think about adding one to your contract. Nonetheless, if a co-parent is regularly asking for your help, it may be time to seek a modification of the shared-parenting agreement.