There will be many adjustments that must be made in your life following a divorce or separation. These changes include finding a new place to live, deciding if you need to alter your career path, and dividing finances. If you and your spouse or partner share children together, the issue of child custody and parenting time will likely be one of the most important issues. The vast majority of divorce and custody cases end with an out of court settlement. An out of court settlement allows parents to custom make a parenting schedule that fits the needs of their family.
In some cases, the parents will be tempted to have a vague order with language that visitation will be “as the parents agree” or a similar provision. Parents hope this type of language will give them flexibility. However, there are many reasons why this is not advisable, and your schedule needs to be specific.
One reason your visitation order needs to be specific is that the types of orders that do not have specific times and places rely entirely on the parents’ abilities to communicate effectively and come to an amicable agreement. However, if one parent does not agree to the proposed visitation schedule, the other parent could end up missing out on substantial amounts of time with the child. Keep in mind that if your court order has specific times for exchanges, you and the other parent are always at liberty to agree to modify the terms. For example, if the order provides you will exchange the children every Tuesday at four pm, the parties are free to decide to meet to exchange the children earlier or later, or even on a different day. If the parties cannot agree, they can then return to the terms that are in the court order.
Another reason your visitation order should be specific is for enforcement purposes. If the other parent is interfering with your parenting time or relationship with the children, a specific court order will make that easier to prove, if that parent is refusing to return the children by the provisions of the order. Conversely, without specific times for exchanges, the court will likely not be able to hold the other parent in contempt or use other types of enforcement powers.
Having a specific order also can help provide more stability and predictability for the children. Children thrive on structure and having a specific order can provide that. With particular times and dates for exchange, the children will know exactly what to expect, which can help them feel more at ease.
We have extensive experience helping our clients craft parenting orders that will work for you and your children. Call us today so we can help you.
Are you interested in seeking an annulment? If so, contact Williams Law Group, LLC right away. Our family law attorneys will review your case to determine if an annulment is an option. If it is, we will guide you through the process and ensure you make the best decisions for your future. Call our office at (908) 738-8512, email us firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation Download our Free Resource Guide today!