What is a right of first refusal?

Are you involved in a divorce or child custody suit and you are concerned that your ex constantly leaves your child with strangers or a relative? Then the right of first refusal might be the answer to your concern. The questions then arise as to how it works and would it be best for your child.

If you or your ex are in possession of your child and you are going to be absent for a certain period of time, then you must first call the other parent before you can leave your child with another relative, babysitter, etc. This provision is a mutual agreement between the parties that if you or your ex are not going to be present after a certain number of hours (can range from 2, 4, 5, etc.) then you agree that the other parent can have possession of the child during your absence. As you can imagine, this provision has both negative and positive aspects.

For instance, you know that if your ex is going to be absent during their scheduled period of possession more than 3 hours then you have the first opportunity to take possession of the child during their absence. This allows for additional time with a parent who may have only a standard possession schedule which reinforces Texas’ public policy of frequent and continuing contact between both parents. After all, who would want a babysitter to watch their child if you know the other parent is available? Would you not want your child to have some extra time with the other parent? Maybe, maybe not. You definitely need to discuss the pros and cons with your attorney.

Moreover, many say that the right of first refusal is more restrictive on the parent who has the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the child because that parent typically has the child more than the other parent who might have the standard possession schedule. But, keep in mind that you can try and tweak this to fit your case if you are working on an agreement. However, if you are requesting this and it is left to a judge’s order you might end up with the provision, a set number of hours, and that is it. You might not have the caveat of it not including a particular daycare or babysitter.

Contact Guest & Gray today to schedule your family law consult. We can discuss the right of first refusal, how it would affect your case, and what your options are. We look forward to meeting with you.