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Right of First Offer in a Child Custody Agreement

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In a recent Second Department case, Saravia v. Godzieba, the court modified a custody agreement to include a provision directing that when one parent is working, that parent, prior to making babysitting arrangements with a nonparent, shall first afford the other parent the opportunity to care for the child during such work period.

In the case at hand, the mother and father of a three-year-old child had opposite work schedules and expressed a desire to care for the child, while the other was at work. This arrangement is different than a typical parenting plan which gives the custodial parent the right to arrange for child care as they see fit.

The provision ordered by the court bears a resemblance to a concept from contract law, known as the Right of First Offer. Right of First Offer is a contractual obligation where the owner of an asset must first try to negotiate a sale with the rights holder before offering to sell the asset to a third party.

This innovative agreement will not work for parents who are antagonistic towards one another and have demonstrated an inability to cooperate on matters involving the child. However, when co-parents have a friendly relationship, this could be a good idea which allows each parent to spend more time with their child.

If you have specific questions regarding visitation schedules or working towards a custody arrangement with your former spouse, and would like to speak with a respected and experienced Long Island Divorce Attorney, contact the offices of Jay. D. Raxenberg. Call (516) 491-0565 or toll free at (888) 543-4867.

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