Getting a divorce is certainly one of the more difficult processes that you and many other people in Ohio will likely go through. However, just because you and your former spouse no longer want to be married, it does not mean that you believe that only one of you should handle childrearing responsibilities. In fact, you want to come to a parenting plan agreement that can help you both parent as well as possible.

The biggest aspect of your parenting plan will likely revolve around who gets the children when and for how long. You may both want the children to spend as much time as feasibly possible with each parent, and including terms in your parenting plan that allow for the right of first refusal may be helpful.

What is the right of first refusal?

Though you and the other parent may have a fairly solid idea of when the kids will be with each of you, you also understand that unexpected matters can come up. For example, one parent may have an emergency meeting at work that requires him or her to stay late and be unable to pick up the kids from school. Though many parents may think that calling a grandparent or even a babysitter to get the kids would be fine, another option may be worth considering when parents are divorced.

Rather than going to an outside party first, agreeing to the right of first refusal means that the custodial parent will call the other parent first to ask whether he or she can take the kids. First refusal means that the other parent has the first chance to say no to taking the kids before someone else has the same opportunity. If the other parent is also unable to take the kids, he or she could say so, and the custodial parent can then contact someone else.

Why is this beneficial?

Having this term in the agreement can ensure that the custodial parent will ask the other parent to take the kids during an unscheduled time when needed. This can allow the other parent to spend more time with the kids than expected, which is often desired. If you do not have this agreed-upon arrangement, one parent may contact a babysitter instead, causing the other parent to miss out on spending time with the kids.

If you are interested in including the right of first refusal in your parenting plan, you may want to discuss this option with an experienced family law attorney.