Understanding Your Parenting Plan: The Right of First Refusal

Florida Parenting Plans are documents that parents use as their “contract” on how to raise their children separately. Parenting Plans are designed to be used until the children either turn 18 years old or graduate from high school. There are many tools that parents can use in their Parenting Plan to achieve their goals. One of those tools is the right of first refusal.

Florida Supreme Court Approved Parenting Plan

The Florida Supreme Court Approved Parenting Plan sets out the model parenting plan that parents can use. Parents are not required to use this form but it contains a simple outline of the essential terms needed in your family law case. The Florida Supreme Court Approved Parenting Plan can be found here: https://www.flcourts.org/content/download/403367/3458536/995a.pdf

What is the Right of First Refusal?

When parents split up, especially when they have young children, one parent may be concerned that the other is just going to use a babysitter or enlist family members to watch the children during their time sharing.

The right of first refusal is a term in the Parenting Plan where any parent seeking to use child care such as  a babysitter (excluding school) must contact the other parent to see if they are willing to watch the children instead before using a babysitter.

Usually, rights of first refusal are for a period of “X amount” of hours. In other words, if the right of first refusal applies to the need for a babysitter for more than six hours, then the other parent must be given the opportunity to watch the children. However, childcare needed for less than the specified six hours does not trigger the right of first refusal.

What are the Penalties for Violations of the Right of First Refusal?

Since Parenting Plans become incorporated into court judgments, failure to adhere to the right of first refusal may land the offending parent in trouble with the court for failure to comply with the court’s orders. Penalties can include diminished time sharing, modifications of child support and sanctions in the form of attorney’s fees and costs.

There are benefits and pitfalls to including a right of first refusal in your Parenting Plan. Parents seeking to implement this term into their parenting plan should consult with an experienced Florida family law attorney to learn more. Contact the Law Office of Lisa Weber today to learn more.