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Do you know what the right of first refusal really is?

You and your spouse are getting divorced, and you believe custody is going to get split evenly between the two of you. That's common these days and you're both great parents.

One of your friends, who already got divorced, tells you that you should consider adding a clause called the "right of first refusal." Do you know what it is and how it works?

It's fairly simply, but it's usually not added to a divorce decree unless one party asks for it. That's why it's important to consider it in advance.

Essentially, the right of first refusal means that your ex has to contact you first if he or she can't be with the children during a scheduled custody period. Before calling a babysitter, leaving the kids with a relative or dropping them off at the nearest daycare facility, you have to be given the option to watch the kids yourself.

For instance, maybe the kids have a day off from school. Your ex doesn't get that day off at work, but you do. He or she is supposed to have custody of the kids, can't watch them due to the work schedule and wants to hire a nanny for the day. Since you're already off work anyway, you can just volunteer to watch them instead.

This gives you extra time with the kids, which you may have wanted anyway, and it can quiet your worries if you're nervous about them being left with a stranger all day.

Again, you usually have to ask for this clause to get added into the decree, so make sure you know what legal steps to take if that's something you want.

Source: Live About, "What is Right of First Refusal During Child Custody?," Cathy Meyer, accessed Feb. 02, 2018

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