Interesting Utah Divorce Hearing Involving the Right of First Refusal

I had a hearing on a divorce case a couple days ago that involved, at least tangentially, the right of first refusal (a.k.a., the first right of refusal). The commissioner made some interesting comments, so I thought I’d share them.

ROFR, as I so nerdily refer to it in writing, is something I really don’t much care for. It’s a good idea (children should be cared for by their parents and not third parties) but a bad reality.

It leads to massive contention between parents who don’t like each other much already. This is because the ROFR system is built on honesty and trust, which is in short supply in divorce and child custody cases. Moreover, enforcement is a nightmare. It’s difficult to prove violations and courts don’t really like punishing parents for violations. ROFR is almost never worth the trouble, which is why we don’t include it in our divorce decrees or paternity orders.

Then there are cases that really do require the ROFR. Certain jobs, usually those requiring lots of overnight travel, create situations in which children will be left with a third party for days unless there is the ROFR.

And this brings me back to my divorce hearing. We were dealing with some financial and parent-time issues. At one point, I told the commissioner if the other side wanted more money, he/she could simply work more hours, which is what everyone who wants more money does. I thought this was a pretty persuasive argument since this person wasn’t working anywhere near full-time.

The problem came because, when this person works, it’s for three to four straight days (nature of the job). Working more would mean being gone overnight more. Now, this shouldn’t be a problem, I thought, because my client exercises parent-time for multiple days at a stretch, so there’s an opportunity to work multiple extra days during that time. Straightforward, I thought.

The commissioner did not agree. The reasoning was if the other parent worked more, my client would get more overnights, and those overnights would add up to more than the average number he was awarded at Temporary Orders. This might change the temporary custody arrangement. Using this reasoning, the commissioner said the other parent could not be expected to work extra shifts to make more money.

Puzzled

I was a bit puzzled by this for a couple reasons.

First, I don’t believe exercising the ROFR can change a custody arrangement, in particular a temporary custody arrangement. This is especially true in a case in which the ROFR was ordered on a temporary basis specifically because the court knew one parent’s job required extensive overnight travel.

Second, this reasoning creates an odd situation in which a parent is clearly disincentivized from working full-time, thereby not working enough to meet basic needs, because working full-time might give another parent too many overnights with the children.

I’ve had a couple days to think on this, and I still don’t get the logic. Maybe I’m missing something fundamental here. Maybe another Utah divorce lawyer has run across this situation and has a different perspective. It seems to me, however, to be an off-target way to look at the ROFR in Utah divorce and child custody cases.

(Note: other than this peculiar ROFR reasoning, the hearing turned out very well, and the commissioner’s recommendations were spot on. Yet another reason why this portion of the hearing perplexed me so.)

Protect Your Money And Your Family

We remove fear associated with divorce, protect your money & maximize time with your kids!

We're here to help. Let's determine your best options.

Call Us 24//7 at 801-685-9999 to Speak with a Live Representative

Utah Divorce FAQs
Top 100 Divorce Blog
What Clients Are Saying…
Brown Family Law
Excellent
4.9
Based on 803 reviews
Overall from start to finish the best experience to have dealing with a time that is difficult.Andrew Christensen is very professional and out going to make this situation the best it could be and worked hard to make sure the divorce was fair for me.Over all, this firm really cares and treats you as a family or friend and just not a client, down to Marco Brown taking time to see how I was doing and offer to help in any way possible during my divorce while I was there for my first initial meeting.I would highly recommend anyone that has to go through a divorce to really reach out to the Brown Family Law firm and see for your self the experience I was able to receive from a top notch law firm.
Response from the owner: Devin, thank you for the kind words. Andrew appreciated the opportunity to help you with your situation.
Sophie was very helpful and explains the process and fees. Thank you!
Response from the owner: Corey, thank you for the kind words. Glad we could help.
My attorney Amy Pomeroy and assistant Melanie and Dani are awesome! It’s an easy case but due to the opposite party was failed to respond, the process went much longer than we expect. During the process Amy gets the necessary job done as quick as she can. The assistants made the most documentation jobs done in a reasonable time. I will get phone call or message to communicate for the status, what’s the next step, what should I expect. In the end, it’s a huge win. So I definitely recommend Brown Family Law. They are professional and handle the case very well.
Response from the owner: Yue, thank you for the kind words. Glad Amy was able to help you so well.
Dani always kept me updated and has great communication skills.
Response from the owner: Thank you, Sofia.
Dani was extremely helpful and always responsive.
Response from the owner: Glad Dani did well for you.
My experience with Brown Family Law is a positive one. I highly recommend them. This firm has very good communication with their clients. Attorney Paul Waldron represents me and I’m very happy with the experience. My questions and concerns are always answered quickly and respectfully. I’m grateful to have Mr. Waldron and Brown Family Law in my corner during this difficult time for my family.
Response from the owner: Jodie, glad we were able to communicate with you so effectively and quickly. Thank you for your kind words.
I recently used Clay in a divorce case and could not have been happier. He was efficient, knowledgeable, and made me feel like I was his only client. The process was easy and he was always there to reassure me or help me with decisions. I would highly recommend Brown Family Law.
Response from the owner: Thank you, Mendi.
Dani excelled as a paralegal, providing crucial support with exceptional skills!
Response from the owner: Glad Dani did such a good job for you.
Thank you So much
Response from the owner: You're welcome. Thank you for choosing us to help you.
I highly recommend Nathaniel and his team. They listened to me, navigated me, educated me, and always called when they said they would. Going through a divorce was very hard but they helped me get through it and showed compassion the whole time.
Response from the owner: Amy, thank you for your recommendation, and glad we could help you through your divorce.
js_loader

Categories