No. As seasoned parenting time lawyers, the attorneys at our law firm appreciate that while most New Jersey Family Court judges prefer to grant a parent the right of first refusal, the court’s decision shall always be driven by the best interests of the child. In other words, if one parent cannot be with the child and the other parent is available, then that parent should have the right to spend time with their child before the child went to a third party such as a babysitter or daycare. However, if a New Jersey family Court finds that the child is not best served in such a scenario, the right of first refusal shall be denied. Of significant note, if the child’s parents are constantly fighting, this could cause a judge to limit their interactions. The case below contains similar facts as well as the court’s reasoning for denying the argument of right of first refusal in this instance.
In Ferrer v. Durkin, ex-husband Joseph Durkin appealed from an order of the Superior Court of New Jersey, Family Part of Camden County which was entered after a plenary hearing on December 16, 2015, that denied his request for more parenting time. On appeal, the New Jersey Appellate Division found that Judged Shusted, the Family Part judge, correctly applied the law to the specific circumstances of the case as he found them after hearing testimony, and affirmed the decision of the Family Part of Camden County.