Robert W. Davis, Jr.,
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What is the right of first refusal in custody cases?

On Behalf of | Feb 18, 2024 | Child Custody |

The right of first refusal in child custody arrangements is formalized by a legal provision in a custody or parenting plan agreement. This approach can play a significant role in the lives of separated or divorced parents and their children in Mississippi. This inclusion allows a parent to take care of their child during a co-parent’s absence, rather than having the child being cared for by a third party or a daycare.

The right of first refusal requires that if one parent needs childcare for a significant period, they must first offer their co-parent the chance to take care of the child before arranging for another caregiver. This ensures that the child spends as much time as possible with their parents rather than with babysitters or in other forms of childcare.

Formalizing a right of first refusal

For the right of first refusal to be effective, clear communication and cooperation between the parents are essential. The parents must agree on how this right will be exercised, including how much notice must be given and the logistics of transferring the child between homes. Disputes can arise if the terms aren’t clearly defined or if one parent doesn’t adhere to the agreement.

The right of first refusal isn’t automatically included in child custody agreements, but it can be requested during custody proceedings. In the event of a litigated matter, the court’s decision to grant this right will depend on various factors, including the child’s best interests, the geographical proximity of the parents and the parents’ ability to cooperate.

If it’s included in a custody order or parenting plan, the right of first refusal becomes a legally enforceable part of the parents’ custody arrangement. As such, failure to honor this right can inspire enforcement action.


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