When parents are discussing parenting time schedules, one thing that often comes up is “you won’t even be taking care of the children for your entire parenting time”. Sometimes, even if this is not a pressing concern, a parent would rather care for and spend time with the child while the “on-duty” parent is unavailable than have a babysitter or family member watch the child.
For these reasons, many parents agree to include “Right of First Refusal” language. This means that, if the “on-duty” parent is not available, he/she will first contact the other parent and ask him/her to care for the child before contacting another third-party to care for the child.
Many parents find that this language is helpful to ensure that they are given the opportunity to spend more time with their child, to know when the other parent is unavailable, or simply as a gesture of good-will/respect that he/she is asked before a third party.
In the Right of First Refusal language, you can specify the time period that will trigger this clause. Often, parents choose to exclude normal working hours (9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.) or limit the Right of First Refusal to overnight time periods.