How restrictive can I make the provisions of our Visitation Agreement or Custody Judgment?


One of the most difficult things that parents face during a divorce is what they are going to put into their custody judgment or visitation order.  Many parents want to be able to control how the other parent raises the minor children when they are in the other parents care.  The reality of the situation is that only certain things can be controlled.  Generally, when the children are in the care of their other parent, that parent has the ability to make day to day decisions for the children, such as how many times they will brush their teeth, or what they will eat, or how late they can stay up.

Most custody judgments and visitation orders are not too restrictive.  Parents may put general language in the agreements indicating that they only want the children to view multimedia and have internet access that is age appropriate.  Other parents may put in the agreements that each parent is responsible for ensuring the minor children’s homework is done for the following school day when they are in that parent’s care.  A common provision is one that includes that the parents shall ensure that third parties do not demean or degrade the other parent in the presence of the minor children, and that they will make third parties, including new spouses, aware of this rule.

Many parents have concerns about their children meeting the other parties’ significant other.  Sometimes the parties will agree not to introduce the minor children to a new significant other until they become engaged to be married, but Judges generally will not order such a stringent provision.  The reality is that when the children are in the other parent’s care, you do not get to micromanage their time.  At one point in life, the parties trusted each other enough to choose to raise a child or children together, and the Court will not micromanage what the other parents do.  There are extreme and rare exceptions to this rule, where you have a parent that could be or cause a danger to the minor children, but this is only in the rarest of circumstances.  Generally, the Court will not be overly-stringent with the provisions in a custody judgment or visitation agreement and will not micro-manage the parents’ time with their children.

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