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Should your custody agreement have a refusal clause?

On Behalf of | Oct 21, 2022 | Family Law |

For decades, child psychologists have recognized the many benefits of implementing joint-custody arrangements after divorce. According to Psychology Today, though, these arrangements work best when both parents have the same or similar parenting styles.

Luckily, even if your parenting style differs significantly from your co-parent’s, you probably can still figure out how to co-parent successfully. You may want to include some additional protections in your custody agreement, however. A refusal clause is a common one.

What is a refusal clause?

A refusal clause directly affects your children’s post-divorce childcare. Indeed, with this clause, your co-parent must ask you to babysit prior to asking anyone else to do so. You must do the same, but both of you have the option of refusing to babysit.

Why are refusal clauses beneficial?

You simply may not trust your co-parent to make healthy childcare decisions. You also might not like your co-parent’s new love interest, family members or friends. A refusal clause gives you some control over your co-parent’s childcare selection.

That is, it permits you to watch your children when your co-parent is not available during his or her scheduled parenting time. Furthermore, a refusal clause can give you even more time with the young ones in your family.

Are there any downsides?

Because refusal clauses usually apply to both co-parents, having one in your custody agreement can be inconvenient. After all, you must reach out to your co-parent directly every time you need childcare. If your co-parent ignores your calls or text messages, trying to contact him or her can be frustrating.

Ultimately, though, when you think of the advantages of having a refusal clause in your custody agreement, the inconvenience of trying to reach your co-parent may be acceptable.