Elkouri Heath, PLC


39555 Orchard Hill Place, Suite 215, Novi, MI 48375

Can My Ex Hire a Babysitter if I’m Available to Watch Our Kids?

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Family Law

MI family lawyerFor many parents, one of the most difficult things about getting divorced is that they no longer get to see their children every day. This can be a very hard adjustment for both parents and children, and many parents seek ways to see their children more often.

Because parents have to divide their time with their children in a legally binding parenting plan, questions often come up about what happens when one parent has the children but is not actually available to be with them for some reason. If you are wondering whether you can spend more time with your kids because your ex is unavailable, talk to a Michigan family law attorney about the right of first refusal.

The Right of First Refusal: What it Is and When it Applies

The “right of first refusal” is a complicated name for a very simple concept: It just means that if your ex is not available to be with your child for a minimum time period during your ex’s parenting time – perhaps a half day, a whole day, or a weekend – the first person your ex has to ask for help is you. If you say no, your ex can then look for childcare from other people, such as a babysitter or grandparents.

Many divorced co-parents do this easily, especially if they live close together. For other parents, especially those who do not get along, using the right of first refusal takes a little more work. Putting the right of first refusal into your parenting plan means laying out exactly when you and your ex will ask each other for help taking care of your child instead of asking somebody else.

How Can I Put the Right of First Refusal Into My Parenting Plan? 

According to Michigan law, during your ex’s parenting time, he or she gets to make decisions about “all routine matters” related to the child. That means anything that is not specifically discussed in your parenting plan is totally up to the other parent to decide. This includes hiring a babysitter or asking a family member to watch your child if your ex is unavailable for any reason.

If you want the first of first refusal to be part of your parenting plan, you will need to follow these steps: 

  • Speak with an experienced family lawyer to understand your options. 
  • Next, talk to your ex and see whether he or she is interested in setting up a right of first refusal agreement with you.
  • If your ex agrees, put the agreement in writing and submit it to the court for approval (without court approval, no agreements are enforceable).
  • If your ex does not agree, consider asking the court to modify your parenting plan. Keep in mind that courts do not like to upset the status quo for children unless it is really necessary, so be prepared to make an argument about why doing so is in the best interests of your child.

Do You Have Questions About Child Custody? Call our Novi, MI Custody Lawyers Now

Divorced parents who are understandably looking for ways to spend more time with their children should know everything there is to know about the right of first refusal. Learn about this important concept and how it may fit into your child custody agreement by calling Elkouri Heath, PLC at 248-344-9700. Our Oakland County, MI child custody lawyers know every family is unique. We are compassionate and experienced, and we handle every case with the sensitivity it deserves. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today.

Share this post:
Oakland County Bar Association State Bar of Michigan Collaborative Practice Institute of Michigan WCCDBA Woman Lawyers Association of Michigan
Back to Top