Can my new wife exercise my right of first refusal on my behalf?


I am under the impression that once I got remarried, my new wife would have the same parenting time rights that I do in terms of right of first refusal. I know that when it is my parenting time, I can leave my daughter in my current wife’s care without offering additional parenting time to my ex-wife.

However, if it is my ex-wife’s parenting time, does she have to give right of first refusal to my current wife?

In other words, can my current wife exercise my right of first refusal on my behalf when I may not be available, such as at work or out of town on business?


As I have not read your parenting time agreement with your ex-wife, and do not have all the facts of your case, I can only speak in generalities based on my experience with custody agreements and the right of first refusal in other Indiana cases.

Your right of first refusal generally doesn’t automatically transfer to a new spouse/step-parent of your child if you will not be present at all during the visit with the child, unless specified in your parenting time agreement with your ex-wife.

However, if you were going to be present for a portion of the time that your ex-wife would need a babysitter, you could have your current wife care for your child for the time you are temporarily not present (i.e. at work, the gym, etc.). Essentially, you would still be exercising the right of first refusal yourself, but you would have your current wife care for your daughter until you get home.

In cases where you would be out of town, or not present with your child for any of the parenting time, then you probably could not exercise your right of first refusal in that case. If you would like your current wife to be able to exercise her own right of first refusal, you would probably need to seek to alter the parenting time agreement you have with your ex-wife.

If you would like to discuss the issue further, Cordell and Cordell has men’s divorce lawyers in Indiana and we would be happy to schedule an initial consult with you to address any other questions or concerns you may have for your specific case.


Leslie Lorenzano is a Staff Attorney in the Indianapolis, Indiana office of Cordell & Cordell where she practices domestic relations exclusively. Ms. Lorenzano is licensed in the state of Indiana and the U.S. District Court Sothern District of Indiana. Ms. Lorenzano received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Purdue University, and her Juris Doctor from the University of Arizona – James E. Rogers College of Law.

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