Child Custody and First Right of Refusal in Minnesota

Right of Refusal

Going through a divorce when children are involved is every parent’s worst nightmare. No one wants to subject their child to the ugliness of divorce. Sometimes, they simply don’t have a choice.

If you’ve been through a divorce in Minnesota, you understand how personal and hurtful the process is. It’s easy to feel you’re drowning in all the legal proceedings and the technical jargon you have to keep straight. When kids are involved, everything seems magnified.

It gets a little easier to keep track of the necessary information with a family lawyer, like understanding the first right of refusal. They can also help you navigate the waters of divorce and child custody and get through to the other side in a better state of mind.

What Is the First Right of Refusal?

In Minnesota, the first right of refusal is disclosed when one parent is required to contact the other parent in the issue of the child’s care. So when the parent who has the child is unavailable, they must give the option of parenting time to the other parent. 

Before the parent “on duty” finds babysitters or some other form of childcare, they must give the other parent an opportunity to have extra parenting time in their schedule. 

If the other parent cannot care for the child during the scheduled time, then the parent with the child may look for alternatives such as daycare or babysitters.

Determining the first right of refusal is common in child custody cases in Minnesota. When children are involved, the court will typically take all necessary steps to ensure that the kids are adequately looked after in the settlement that the divorcing parties reach.

When It Applies

Child Custody

The court established when the first right of refusal applied in the initial child custody hearings. There are many ways to ensure amicable exchanges between the divorced parents, especially in the language of the custody agreement. 

Having the agreement laid out in plain, cordial language is one of the best ways to ensure that both parents are satisfied and act in the child’s best interest. 

Typically, parents can specify the first right of refusal during specific periods. For example, many parents choose to leave regular working hours out of the clause. 

However, the language of the custody agreement plays out; both parents are subject to respecting the decision and adhering to the first right of refusal.

First Right of Refusal and Separate Property State

In Minnesota, the first right of refusal gives both parents the option of spending more time with their children. It also creates an environment where the divorced parents must work together on a schedule for the kids’ sake. 

Minnesota is a separate property state, and it only provides for joint or sole custody of children in the case of a divorce. As a separate property state, Minnesota must comply with the concept of equitable distribution in a divorce. 

This method is more nuanced than a community property state, especially when children are involved. It gives the judge greater authority over deciding how to help parents and kids adjust to the new circumstances of a divorce.

Impact on a Custody Schedule

The impact on custody is sequestered mainly to each parent’s amount of time, based on the custody agreement. The first right of refusal is part of a divorce settlement after the parents and judge determine custody guidelines.

If parents share joint custody, then the first right of refusal will likely balance out over the years to give both spouses an equal amount of time for parenting.

Suppose the custody agreement gives one parent sole custody over the children over the other parent. In that case, the first right of refusal provides the parent without custody the opportunity to care for their children with greater frequency.

Family Lawyer

Hiring a Family Lawyer

Going through a divorce is an unpleasant experience that no one should endure alone. When children are involved, it can be incredibly stressful. It’s easy to feel hurt and affronted by the other person when the welfare of your kids is on the line.
Hiring a family lawyer is one of the best things you can do when you need to settle a custody issue in divorce. Contact our family lawyers at CBJ Law to take the onus off you and your ex-spouse to determine the first right of refusal.