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Does your custody agreement have a first right of refusal?

A first right of refusal essentially gives you the right to say your ex cannot leave the children with a babysitter when he or she has custody of the kids. You may simply be against that specific babysitter and want your ex to choose someone else, but you may want to claim that it's your right to have the kids instead.

After all, if there's no way your ex can be with the kids, wouldn't you rather have them stay with a parent than with someone your ex hired to watch them?

Perhaps this feels like common sense and you've always assumed it was in your divorce decree. It may be, but never assume it. It's not an automatic provision. If it wasn't added from the beginning, you may have to go to court to get that right added in.

One woman told her story of doing just that. Her ex repeatedly left the children, who he had on the weekends. He would hire a nanny or a babysitter, or he would drop the kids off with their grandparents.

She noted that she understood that time with the grandparents could be good. That's a valuable family bond. But she argued that it was still more important for the kids to be with an actual parent in those situations. The grandparents shouldn't just get treated like free babysitters who can't refuse when the call comes in.

Plus, she absolutely thought it was better for the children to be with her than with a nanny who was merely doing a job. That's not to say the nanny wouldn't do well taking care of the kids, but she felt she could do a better job and have more time to bond with her children.

As you can see, it's very important to consider all of your rights when going through a divorce. Think about what the future may hold and how the divorce decree can give you what matters most.

Source: Huffington Post, "First Right of Refusal Post Divorce," Lee Block, accessed Feb. 01, 2018

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