Have you heard of the right of first refusal? If you are going through a divorce in Arizona, and you have children, you must have an understanding of what this term means and how it works. Parents will often agree to provide one another with this right when they are creating their parenting plan. If the plan is court-ordered, rather than one they create themselves, they may ask the judge to provide them with the right of first refusal.
What Is the Right of First Refusal?
What does this mean, though? It simply means that the parent should have the first opportunity to care for their child when the other parent is not able to do so when they have their parenting time. For example, if your ex is supposed to have the kids for the weekend, but they have a work emergency they have to take care of, you would have the first right to get the children and take care of them during that time.
It is possible to create different parameters that would invoke the right of first refusal. It might be that anytime the parent can’t take care of the kids during their parenting time, you can take them. It might only be if they can’t take care of them overnight. This will be something you will want to discuss with your ex or the judge.
Why Would You Want to Have the Right of First Refusal?
When you have minor children and go through a divorce, it can be difficult for a host of reasons. It’s often hard to deal with the fact that you won’t always have your children with you. They will spend time with the other parent. It’s good for them, of course, but you still miss the kids when you don’t have as much parenting time as you once had.
Of course, divorce also often means that your life is more hectic than before, and the same goes for your spouse. Sometimes, when one of you does have parenting time, something else in life gets in the way. Someone needs to watch the kids during those times. Without the right of first refusal, though, this is often left to babysitters, your spouse’s parents or relatives, etc.
While it might be fine to have the kids watched by those people, you may also want to be able to spend some more time with them. When you have the right of first refusal, your ex is supposed to let you know that the kids need someone to watch them. If you are able to do so, you can take the kids.
This makes things easy on your ex, as they will have someone who can take care of the kids when they aren’t there. It also means you get to spend more time with the kids that you miss so much. Of course, it’s also nice for the kids, as they get to spend more time with you.
Overall, many benefits can come from having the right of first refusal. This is one of the reasons that parents often agree to grant this right to one another when they are getting divorced. However, that doesn’t mean that it always goes smoothly, as we will discuss later in the post.
When Should the Request for Right of First Refusal?
Ideally, you will have the request for the right of first refusal put into your parenting plan as early as possible. Most of the time, parents will start thinking about this as soon as they start negotiating on the parenting plan. Ideally, both of you will be able to agree, so that it can be added to the plan and then put into effect as soon as possible.
Of course, sometimes, the negotiations go sour. If the parents find that they are unable to settle, the court will end up deciding on the parenting plan for them. When that happens, you will have to request the judge to order this as part of the parenting plan. Often, they will oblige. However, this could vary based on the circumstances of the case.
Parents Have to Make It Work
As helpful as the right of first refusal can be, you have to realize that it’s only as good as the parents who are supposed to abide by the parenting plan. You and your ex have to make it work, and this can be difficult in some circumstances. If you and your ex do not get along and you argue with one another, it has the potential to backfire. It’s essential that you and your ex learn how to communicate with one another, at least when it comes to your children and doing what’s best for them.
You need to be able to trust that the other parent will contact you and let you know when they aren’t going to be there for their children for one reason or another during their parenting time. If they don’t, you might not even know that they just dropped the kids off at a babysitter rather than contacting you.
Not only do you need to be capable of getting along, but you have to agree on how you will communicate with one another. Will it be through phone calls, texts, or emails, or a combination of these options? How long does the other parent have to respond? When a certain period of time passes, whether you agree on an hour or a day, is the other parent able to use a babysitter or their parents to watch the kids instead?
There are a lot of things that need to be thought out and planned when you are developing the parameters of the right of first refusal.
Work with an Attorney
If you need some help working on the parenting plan and developing the constraints of the right of first refusal, be sure to speak to an attorney. They can help you with many areas of your case.