Your judgment of divorce is a legally enforceable document that determines each of your rights and responsibilities as a parent. When it comes to parenting plan, language contained in your judgment of divorce, you want to have clear and concise language. A judgment of divorce with inadequate language regarding parenting time may create conflict between the parents that cannot be clearly resolved by the judge.
When agreeing on parenting time language for your judgment of divorce, you should select language that cannot be interpreted in several ways. After all, if either party finds the need to seek assistance from the court, you want the parenting plan language to be upheld in court. If the language can be interpreted more than one way, it is “vague”, and judges cannot uphold vague language. And vague language leads to post-divorce litigation and expense.
Your parenting plan may include considerations that are specific to your children and your family. Remember, that a good parenting pan should thoroughly address all of the known issues that are involved. The following are some general rules to follow when selecting parenting plan language:
- Never use the language “as agreed upon by the parties” as the only language to define your parenting plan. Parenting plans should be specific and detailed. If you are getting along, you are free to make decisions regarding parenting time. However, specific language placed in the judgment becomes the fallback plan when parents are unable to agree.
- Your parenting plan language can be as specific as you need it to be, to prevent any misinterpretation of the language.
- Specifically define your weekly parenting time (identifying the days of the week and start and ending times for each visit).
- Identify what day, time, and location will you exchange the children for parenting time.
- Identify your holiday parenting plan, listing each holiday, and the start and ending time of the visits.
- Avoid language that is vague and leaves unanswered questions.
Your parenting plan cannot predict conflicts that may arise post-divorce. However, by using specific parenting plan language in your judgment of divorce, parents can clearly identify what their parenting time are. And should post-divorce litigation become necessary, detailed language in judgments of divorce assists the judge in making a determination on motions filed about parenting time.
When it comes to a parenting plan, do it right the first time and avoid unnecessary future litigation.
CHILDREN ARE FIRST. GRAND RAPIDS COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE ATTORNEY SERVING KENT, OTTAWA, AND ALLEGAN COUNTY.
At Schmitt Law, PLLC we understand that the interests of your children always come first. Whatever your situation, Schmitt Law, PLLC is experienced, sympathetic and willing to help you achieve the best outcome for your entire family. Contact Schmitt Law, PLLC today by completing our online contact form, or calling us at (616) 608-4634 to schedule a consultation.