By Carl Funderburk


Some family court orders contain a Right of First Refusal (“ROFR”) provision. This provision requires a parent, who is unable during their physical custody time to provide physical care for the child, to offer the other parent the right to take care of their child instead of another family member or babysitter. A typical ROFR provision reads as follows:

First Right of Refusal. If the parent having physical custody of the minor child is going to be unavailable to care for the minor child for a period of more than ____ hours, the other parent shall be given the right of first refusal to care for the minor child. The parent exercising this ROFR shall be responsible for pick-up and return of the minor child.

The time period included in a ROFR can vary greatly and depends on the age of the child. For small children, the ROFR may be for 2 hours. For older children, the ROFR may be for 12 hours. A period of four-hours is commonly used, but often leads to parents running home for lunch during their work day just not to invoke ROFR.

There are advantages and disadvantages to a ROFR. Of course, the major advantage to ROFR is the chance for the child to have the time with the other parent. A ROFR supports the communication between the parents and the atmosphere of jointly working together in raising their child. A disadvantage of the ROFR is created if the parents do not have a very good line of communication. A last-minute request from a parent who had significant notice of his/her unavailability to the other parent can be very frustrating and make it difficult for the other parent to immediately change plans to care for the child. Another disadvantage is that parents sometimes argue about whether the ROFR must be offered if the minor child is going to spend time with grandparents or friends. In this event, parents may want to specifically write the ROFR to deal with these situations.

Carl Funderburk



1848 East 15th Street

Tulsa, OK 74104

PH 918-599-8000

FX 918-599-8006

Carl Funderburk is a graduate of Tulsa University Law School. He retired from the bench after serving nine years as a Special Judge and three and a half years as a Court Referee, all in Tulsa County. Before that Carl Funderburk was an Assistant District Attorney. He served his last five years on the Domestic Bench. Currently he primarily focuses on family law.