For more divorced parents, the hardest thing about ending their marriage is the fact that they have to split their child’s time with their co-parent.
It can be frustrating, too, to know that your co-parent often has to rely on a sitter for your children when it’s their parenting time due to work, school or social obligations – especially if you’re available. You’d love to have that additional time with your child.
A right of first refusal clause may help
It’s not unreasonable to ask for a clause in your parenting plan that gives you the “right of first refusal” when it comes to situations where your co-parent needs childcare.
Typically, these clauses generally require whichever parent needs childcare to call the other parent first – before asking someone else to take the job. In other words, if your ex-spouse suddenly gets called out of town during their week with the kids, they would have to ask you if you want to take care of the children until they get back. Only if you fail to respond within a specified time (which can be written into the clause) can they proceed to get childcare help from a paid sitter, nanny, grandparent or another relative.
It’s important to understand that these clauses typically work both ways, so whatever rules are imposed on one parent are usually also imposed on the other. When handled correctly, however, they can often increase the time a parent has with their child – and keep them out of the hands of other caregivers that may or may not be trustworthy.
Child custody can be fraught with difficulties. Legal guidance can help you make a parenting plan that works for your family’s needs.