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Peeples Law Birmingham Divorce Lawyer
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The Right Of First Refusal And Co-Parenting In Alabama


All divorced couples who have minor children together must have a parenting plan.  It covers all of the parenting decisions except the financial ones, including which parent has the final decision about the children’s non-emergency medical care and extracurricular activities at school.  Most of the provisions of the parenting plan have to do with parenting time, in other words, which parent is with the children on which days and nights.  Some parenting plans stipulate that the children spend Sunday night through Friday afternoon with Mom and Friday evening through Sunday evening with Dad, 52 weeks per year, while others are more complicated.  For example, the parenting plan might have the kids spend Thanksgiving with Mom and Christmas with Dad in odd-numbered years and the reverse in even-numbered years.  Well thought-out parenting plans can effectively reduce conflict over co-parenting, but no matter how well you plan out your parenting time, you might have to make unexpected adjustments.  A Birmingham child custody lawyer can help you and your ex-spouse develop a conflict-proof parenting plan.

Should You Let Your Ex-Spouse Have the Right of First Refusal?

Both parents are obligated to exercise their parenting time according to the parenting plan, but sometimes out-of-the ordinary events happen.  Assume that, according to the parenting plan, Mom has parenting time every week from Sunday at 7:00 p.m. until Friday at 5:00 p.m.  What should she do if one of the following situations happens?

  • She has been invited to a friend’s destination wedding in Hawaii six months from now. Due to the limited guest list, the children cannot attend.  To attend the wedding, she would have to fly to Hawaii on Wednesday and return the following Wednesday.
  • She is scheduled to have surgery on Monday and will need to stay in the hospital until Wednesday.
  • She has to go on a business trip, departing on Thursday morning and coming back Monday evening.
  • She has to attend a relative’s funeral in Texas, and she plans to drive. The funeral is on a Sunday.  She will leave home on Friday evening, after the kid’s go to Dad’s house, but she will not be back until Monday evening.

If the parenting plan gives Dad the right of first refusal, she must first ask Dad if he wants to have the children stay with him while she is out of town.  Only if Dad says no does she have the right to make other arrangements, like having the children stay with her parents or hiring a babysitter to stay with them for the days that she is away.  Giving your ex-spouse the right of first refusal can make things simpler or it can make them more complicated, depending on the dynamics of your co-parenting relationship with your ex-spouse.

Contact Peeples Law About Co-Parenting Through Unexpected Circumstances

A Birmingham family law attorney can help you be flexible about your co-parenting arrangements while still following your parenting plan.  Contact Peeples Law today to schedule a consultation.


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