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After your divorce, you may find yourself busier than ever, especially at work now that you are living on only one income. If this is the case, you may decide you want to hire a nanny to help out with childcare when you are not home. However, doing so could cause legal problems down the road if your child custody order includes the “right of first refusal.”

What is the “right of first refusal?”

The right of first refusal is a common provision in many child custody orders in Florida. Basically, this clause states that if one parent cannot care for the child during their allotted parenting time, the child’s other parent will be given the first opportunity to care for the child during that time if they choose. Only if they decline this opportunity can the other parent hire a babysitter or nanny.

The “right of first refusal” has advantages and disadvantages

One advantage of the right of first refusal is that it allows the child to spend as much time as possible with their parents, rather than a third-party caregiver. It also provides parents with flexibility and it fosters cooperation and communication between each parent, which in turn benefits the child.

However, the right of first refusal may not operate smoothly if parents still carry animosity or resentment towards one another even after the divorce is over. In addition, if the request is asked in a manner that is vague, the right of first refusal can be confusing and problematic. Problems can also arise if such requests are made at the last minute.

You may need to consult with your ex before hiring a nanny

As this shows, if you want to hire a nanny post-divorce, you may need to consult your ex first. If your child custody order includes the right of first refusal, your ex must be given the opportunity to care for your child before you can turn to a nanny for child care. Those in Fort Myers who have questions about the right of first refusal or other child custody issues can seek legal advice, which this post does not provide, for further information.