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Should time-sharing plans have first right of refusal clauses?

Few things in life have the potential to be more heart-wrenching than a child custody dispute. If you are going through a divorce, negotiating a time-sharing agreement may give you more control. That is, if you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse can come up with an acceptable plan, a judge is unlikely to mess with it.

According to Psychology Today, it can be beneficial for children of divorce to have both parents in their lives. Still, you may not agree with your co-parent’s parenting style. You also may not trust him or her to choose the right babysitter.

What is the first right of refusal clause?

If you believe your ex-spouse may leave your children with friends or relatives you do not trust, putting a FROR clause in your time-sharing arrangement probably makes sense. This type of clause simply requires your ex to ask you first before leaving your kids with someone else. Then, you decide whether you want to watch the kids or pass on the opportunity.

How can a FROR clause benefit you?

It is not uncommon for it to take some time to acclimate to a new time-sharing arrangement. When you are getting comfortable with your plan, you may want to spend as much time with your kids as possible. A FROR clause allows you to see your kids even during their other parent’s parenting time.

Including a FROR provision in a time-sharing arrangement is not always appropriate. Ultimately, though, if you want to protect both your parental authority and your kids, putting one in your plan probably makes sense.


Christine S. Cook has earned a reputation in the legal community for her professionalism and among her clients for the care and personal attention she gives to every case.

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