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An issue for most people after filing for divorce is who will watch the children while you are not home.  For you the best choice might be what is called the “right of first refusal.”  This means that when you are not available the first person to ask to watch the children is your spouse.  While this might seem like an obvious cost-effective solution, it may present problems.


On a practical level, you are agreeing that every time childcare becomes an issue you contact your former spouse or your former spouse contacts you to watch the children. This may or may not be realistic.  Once you are divorced, communication may or may not be desired or you or your ex-spouse may not want the other to know what is taking place in the home.


If you believe, however, that this is truly a viable option, then I suggest you set a minimum time limit before each other is contacted. For example, the two of you can agree that if either one is out of the house for more than 3 hours, the other shall have the right of first refusal.  This might alleviate some problems that you and your spouse will have regarding contacting each other every time you need to leave your children alone.  Another factor may be the distance between the two homes.  However, you can agree that if the car ride is more than 20-30 minutes the right of first refusal will no longer apply or you can meet at a central location, which would be more convenient.


Ultimately, divorce requires an adjustment of lifestyles, and it may not be in the children’s best interest for you or your former spouse to be the go-to person for childcare. Discuss this situation with your attorney to determine if the right of first refusal is a viable option for you and your family.

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