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Florida Family Law

What is The Right of First Refusal?

 

By Lauren Brusca | Family Law Attorney
Posted on October 31, 2017

Many couples who go through divorce find themselves in a situation where one parent may plan to leave the children in childcare while the other parent is available. This provision, often referred to as ‘the right of first refusal,' will differ depending on the parenting plan devised during the divorce, though, it is not mandatory under Florida law. The right of first refusal, or ROFR, is the right of one parent to watch their children in times where the other parent would require childcare. ROFR can work well for many couples as it reduces costs and enables the kids to spend additional time with their parent; however, it can also turn into a volatile dispute if your relationship with your former spouse is rocky.

How to Approach ROFR

If emotions are not high, and you and your former partner can communicate in a civilized manner, ROFR can be achieved outside of the court.

  • Communicate - Sometimes, honest and transparent communication can resolve most everything.  Remember, your former partner is not a mind-reader. They may not realize you have the time or desire to watch your children when it is not your turn. If ROFR is included in your parental responsibility plan, ensure you communicate with your spouse that you would like to take advantage of the opportunity when available.
  • Compromise - If you can come to an agreement, do everything you can to make it work. When both parties are happy, working with your ex-spouse and offering the right of first refusal can reduce pressure on both the parents and your children as well.
  • Go to Court - Only in extreme cases should you take ROFR situations to court. In the end, most couples are worse off if they decide to involve a judge in disputes such as these after it has been added to the parenting plan. Forcing one parent to let the other play ‘babysitter’ opens up a dialogue about where the first parent is going, who they are seeing, and so forth. If you and your former partner are not open to discussing this, it can lead to disputes.

Instances When ROFR is Not a Good Idea

Parents should typically avoid adding ROFR to their parental responsibility plans when any of the following is present:

  • One parent has a history of violence or abuse.
  • A parent has been proven irresponsible with timesharing.
  • The ex-partners cannot seem to agree or get along on anything.
  • If one or both parents are highly emotional and upset easily.
  • The parents live far apart or live in different school zones.
  • If the ROFR will inhibit one parent from their fair amount of timesharing.

Legal Advice You Can Trust

Because every case is unique, there may be external factors not included above that would determine whether a right of first refusal is an appropriate provision for your parental responsibility plan. Speak to a team of professional and seasoned family law attorneys to help guide you during your divorce and the development of your timesharing plan. The lawyers at The Roberts Family Law Firm have offer years of experience in aggressive representation, fighting for their clients’ needs. To learn more, or speak with one of our attorneys, call us today at 407-426-6999.

Orlando Family Law Attorney Lauren Brusca

Lauren Roderick Brusca
Family Law Attorney

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