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Divorce Issues/Right of First Refusal


I have a situation that I cannot seem to find an answer.  Without getting into the fine details of the parenting plan, basically, I have a right of first refusal regarding childcare, meaning I can have the kids if my ex cannot.  I will be out of town during my visitation time.  My ex will be at all day training during the days I'm out of town.  I have a nanny that I would like to take the kids during the time they would be with me since my ex is unavailable.  My ex wants her boyfriend to watch the kids while she is at the training.  This could possibly also cover an instance where we are both out of town.  

My ex is the custodial parent.  Can she refuse my request the have the kids at my house with my nanny and have them with her boyfriend?

You know, I'm not sure.

I was tempted to refuse the question as being beyond my expertise because it struck me basically as a legal
question. It all depends on the way the agreement was drawn up.  
According to that, as you said, you could argue that you have the right of first refusal.

But the fact that it is dispute over whether your right of first refusal includes your handing the child to the (we will presume) extremely competent care of your housekeeper ... that is another matter.

At the practical level, it might be that you will be out of town also in the evening whereas she will return home in the evening from her training
to be able to with your son in the evening.  So maybe according to those measures her house (including the care of her boyfriend) is the better choice (assuming he will be as competent and emotionally open and safe as  your housekeeper.

But there is something more profoundly wrong with the whole picture and if I'm right
(I hope you don't mind my speculating here)
I imagine you can see it
but you prefer to dismiss it...

That, if you don't mind, is where I would challenge you.

The fact that making such a decision which involves such legalistic hair splitting says something about the continuing nature of your relationship with each other, post-divorce.  it says that there is much unresolved between you. Often such contretemps are signs of
profound lingering resentment and bitterness.  Often she difficulties suggests a continued petty fighting even though the divorce is over.

In such cases, the ones who will suffer, of course, are the children.
Almost always they are far more sensitive to the continuing enmity between the parents
than the parents imagine.  The parents minimize these occurances.
The children study them and think about them.
They have elaborate theories to explain them.
If parents ordinarily have to get into legal fine points about such matters,
the children will be the first to be aware of it and any time they consider any request that might involve both, they will hold this in mind.

if I am correct in this, may I also suggest you speak to me about how to resolve this, get to a more stable divorce and continue creating a wholesome and more integrated life for you, your ex and your children. It's good to move past the legal divorce
to an emotional one.

You  may reach me directly at to arrange a private consultation.  

My apologies if I've offended you. I'm only making this guess based on my years of experience with others and this might not at all pertain to you.

My best wishes,

Philip Alan Belove, Ed.D  

Divorce Issues

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Philip Belove, Ed.D.


Divorce is the beginning of a life review process. For many people, it`is the first intentional decision they make about their lives. The transition into the next stage of life is difficult at first, but it gets easier. The questions I can help you with: What happened? How do I take care of our children? How do I get over my anger? How do I plan a future for myself?


I am Philip Belove, psychologist and coach. My specialty is helping people do their midlife transformation work, a psychological project that creates a foundation for happy and satisfying second half of life.

Midlife Work, because it involves so much careful attention to inner truth, is notoriously stressful on marriages and on dating relationships.

The challenges of the midlife project are echoed in the typical questions asked me as a dating-at-midlife expert:

?Learning to reconcile what you say with what you do. This challenge is echoed in questions like: Why does he say this when he does that? What is really happening?
?Learning to create your own dreams instead of being the victim of someone else's. This challenged is echoed in questions like these: How do I say that I don't want to xyz? I've been lying about some things and what should I do now?
?Learning to live a life that suits you. This challenge produces questions like Is what I'm doing normal? What if my kids think I'm crazy? How can I say that this is starting to bother me?

A person doing Midlife Transformation Work needs to develop 1) A Working Vision, 2) Skills and Strategies to realize that vision, and 3) External sources of support for the project. My role for people is to be part of the support system. I help people clarify their visions, develop the strategies and skills they need, and I help them review their progress.

M.A. Counseling Psychology
Ed.D. Counsulting Psychology (Family Therapy)

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