The Right of First Refusal in Colorado Child Custody

Pesch Law Office PC

At one time, divorced parents were able to arrange for childcare in whatever way they thought best during the times they had physical custody of their child. However, over the years, Colorado family laws have evolved and changed. One of the changes that were made was adding the right of first refusal for parents in custody and childcare situations. The law now requires parents who need to arrange for childcare to first offer the other parent the option of watching the child before they look for someone else to babysit.

How Does Right of First Refusal Work?

The goal of the change was to ensure the best interest of the child – which is the legal standard for all custody decisions – is always met. In the majority of cases, the courts believe that it is in the child’s best interest to spend as much time as possible with each parent, and that it is far better for a child to spend time with a parent than spend that same time with a babysitter or a nanny.

When parents are negotiating a parenting plan, either because of a divorce or custody case, the courts do allow them to come up with a practical way of implementing the right of first refusal. If they cannot agree on how it should be done, the court will come up with a plan for them.

Some of the factors that need to be determined in the right of first refusal plan include:

  • The length of time that childcare would be needed for

  • How the parent needing the childcare would notify the other parent

  • How the other parent should respond

  • Responsibility for transporting the child back and forth

There may be cases where the court decides the right of first refusal should not apply and this can be stipulated in the original parenting plan order. For example, if one parent has limited or supervised parenting time because of issues such as substance abuse or domestic violence, the court may decide that parent should not have the right of first refusal.  

Another example would be in the case of an emergency where there legitimately is not enough time for the parent needing the childcare to notify the other parent of that need. The keyword here is “legitimately.”

Contact a Douglas County Family Law Attorney

If you are facing a child custody case and will need to come up with a parenting plan, you want to ensure that your parental rights are protected. Contact Pesch Law Office PC to speak with a dedicated Denver child custody lawyer. Call to schedule a confidential consultation and find out how our legal team can help.