Other Parent is Not Spending Time with Child During Their Parenting Time

Jun 22, 2017

One parenting time dispute I see is when one parent does not spend time with the child during their agreed upon parenting time.

A lot of clients come to my office upset because the other parent, during their parenting time with the children, that parent is not actually spending time with the children.

They are shipping the child off to the grandmother's house or leaving the child with a step-parent or sending them over to the neighbor's house. And the parent who is upset because they say if that parent is not going to spend their time they are given with the children, then they would like to spend that time.

So in this situation and we are in the negotiating phase of a parenting time plan that is best for the children, I often talk about a provision called 'the first right of refusal'. If a parent can't spend with those children for the set amount of hours that was agreed upon in the parenting time agreement, then they have to give the other parent the opportunity to have the children during those times.

The idea behind that is that the parent should have time with the children before any third party. So a lot of times that helps alleviate the worry or the gripe that the children are not spending time with the other parent as agreed.

Having said that, I have taken this 'right of first refusal' provision to trial because in some cases there are parents who don't want it. They think it opens a whole can of worms and sometime it does. There are judges, at least where I practice, that will not include 'the right of first refusal' in the parenting plan for the very reason that it does open up a can of worms.

Essentially they are saying that it is each parent's business what they do with the kids and who is watching the kids while those kids are in their care. Now it's only been a handful of judges that do this. Th'e vast majority of judges where I practice will honor a request for a right of first refusal' provision to be included in a parenting plan.

A lot of people don't even realize this exists so I hope this video raises awareness and if you have that issue, you could try to reach an agreement with the other parent.


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