Does A Right Of First Refusal Clause Apply To Both Parties?

oklahoma city divorce lawyerQuestion:

My ex-wife and I share joint child custody. When I am forced to work late or otherwise be absent during my parenting time, I have to notify my ex-wife and give her a right of first refusal.

My ex-wife has now picked up an extra job requiring her to work nights. When she works during her parenting time hours, she does not afford me the same opportunity and instead leaves our child with a relative.

She refuses to let me have our child while she works during her parenting time. Is there anything I can do?


This answer only includes general divorce help for men since I am only licensed to practice in Oklahoma and am thus unable to provide any advice on child custody laws in other states.

The short answer to your question is yes, there is something you can do. The first thing you need to do is review your Decree of Dissolution of Marriage and your Joint Child Custody Plan, if any, and your Visitation Schedule, if any.

You indicated that there may be something in your agreement whereby you are required to contact her in the event that you are required to work. In order for that to be enforceable it will need to be in the decree or the other related documents on file with the court.

Typically, such a provision or clause in the decree would be called a “right of first refusal” whereby the opposing party has the right to notice and the first opportunity to be with the child. Often, such a clause applies to both parties.

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Right Of First Refusal Clauses

If that is the case you need to remind the opposing party of the requirement and hopefully she will honor the terms of the decree. If she does not, you will need to pursue an Application for Indirect Contempt of Court as she is refusing to abide by the court’s order.

If there is no right of first refusal clause that applies to the opposing party, you will need to file a Motion to Modify the Decree in order to request that the court enter a new order granting you the right of first refusal when she is working.

I recommend that you contact a mens divorce lawyer near you to provide you with legal advice on divorce and assist in any divorce modification.

To set up an appointment with a Cordell & Cordell mens divorce attorney, including Oklahoma City Divorce Lawyer Brock Ellis, please contact Cordell & Cordell.

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