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Rights of First Refusal

With rare exception, when parents get divorced, the children split their time between two homes. The division of parenting time may be evenly divided, or one parent may have more time with the children than does the other parent. In either instance, occasions may arise when the “on-duty” parent is unable to care for the children. In such circumstances, there are several options for such care, including a babysitter, a family member, or the other parent.

To address such situations, divorcing parents often include a “right of first refusal” clause in their divorce decree. Such a clause means that when an “on-duty” parent is unavailable, the other parent is given the opportunity to care for the children before anyone else is contacted to provide such care.

Parents can draft the language to best meet their needs. In some cases, there may be no limits on the right of first refusal; however, the more common approach is to limit the right of first refusal to specific situations, such as overnights, or periods of longer than six hours. Parents may also wish to exclude absences during normal working hours.

For more information regarding rights of first refusal, contact Kruse Family Law at 612-231-9865 or email

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