You’ve accepted the idea that you’re going to share custody of the kids with your ex-spouse. What you can’t accept, however, is the idea that your ex-spouse’s business takes them out of town quite a bit — and that means your children will end up in someone’s care far too often.
It was different when you and your ex-spouse were together. When they went out of town, you were always there. Now, you’re worried about how the kids will fare when they’re being bounced from sitter to sitter on short notice.
What’s the right of first refusal?
In situations like these, you can actually incorporate the right of first refusal into your custody plan. Absent emergency situations, your ex-spouse would be obligated to notify you that they need childcare before engaging anybody else for the task.
If they’re being called out of town during their parenting time, for example, they would need to give you the option of keeping the kids before they turn to grandparents, aunts, uncles, babysitters or nannies.
Generally, they would need to give you a set amount of time to respond. If they have to leave before that time is up, they would need to make arrangements for the children to be transferred to your care if you decide to exercise your option.
This sort of agreement will usually give you more time with your children — but be cautious: The agreement is rarely one-sided. Whatever terms you set for your ex-spouse will also apply to you when the situation is reversed.
Do you need help with your custody issue?
Custody issues can start the moment a divorce begins — or they can crop up almost any time afterward. If you’re struggling with a thorny issue with your co-parent, it may be time to talk to an attorney.