A right of first refusal is a common term included in many divorce and child custody cases. I highly recommend to my clients that they request a right of first refusal. A right of first refusal provides that if the parent in possession will be unable to watch the child for more than a certain period of time while the child is not in school (or sometimes daycare), that parent must give the parent not in possession the first right of refusal to care for the child.
For example, Mom and Dad have a custody order that provides for a right of first refusal if the parent in possession will be unavailable for a period of four or more hours. Mom is scheduled to have the child this weekend, but Mom has to work this Saturday from 9-4. Mom is therefore unable to care for the child for a period of more than four hours. Mom must notify Dad and give him the first option to care for the child while she is at work. Dad has no obligation to care for the child during that time, but he will get the first choice. If he says no, Mom is responsible for finding someone else to care for the child.
Parents can choose any length of time for the right of first refusal. Some parents choose four hours, six hours, eight hours, overnight, or even a period of several days.