What is “Right of First Refusal”?
Depending on the area of law, the concept of “Right of First Refusal” may mean something different. In the real estate law context, Right of First Refusal relates to the concept of a potential purchase of real property. The following is a look at what it means in the context of child custody, specifically, the option of one parent to watch their child/children when the other parent needs to have childcare.
Consider this example:
Mom and Pop have two children, Faramir and Boromir, and Mom and Pop are now divorced. Mom decides to unwind on a tropical weekend vacation to Helm’s Deep. This unfortunately is the same weekend that Mom is supposed to have the boys, according to Mom and Pop’s custody agreement. That means Mom needs to hire a baby-sitter for the weekend. Pop may want the opportunity to be asked if he can take the kids and have extra time with them, instead of Faramir and Boromir being stuck with a baby-sitter all weekend. In this scenario, Pop would have wanted to have Right of First Refusal language included in the custody agreement, as it allows him to spend more time with the boys than was originally agreed upon in the custody schedule.
In Brunswick and New Hanover Counties, judges may include the concept of Right of First Refusal within a court-ordered custody schedule. However, it is far more common for this type of language to be included in custody schedules that are negotiated between two parents (either in a “consent order” or within an agreement outside the North Carolina court system).
As important as custody schedules can be to both parents, it is always wise to discuss concepts like this with your Leland, North Carolina family law attorney.