Some divorcing couples are able to set aside their differences to focus on what’s best for the children, but for some couples, that doesn’t come so easily.
In some cases, the conflict is so pronounced or the emotion is so intense that the lawyers working with them can foresee challenges a couple will have in their ability to co-parent. As we’ve discussed in a recent blog article, the focus of a divorcing couple should really be on the children – specifically, on making sure the children get much-needed time with each parent.
There’s now language that family law teams can offer their clients to make sure the couples are on the same page as co-parents, literally, by writing it into the decree. Called the Loving and Caring Order, it not only emphasizes the importance of children having relationships with each of their parents, it orders it.
Specifically, it makes sure that a parent isn’t impeding the other parent’s parenting time, isn’t disparaging his or her ex, and isn’t doing anything else to interfere with the relationship their children are building with each parent. We’ve included the language we typically use below to show how it can fit into the overall decree.
Loving and Caring Order
Each party is ORDERED to encourage and nurture the relationship between the children and the other party by encouraging the children to interact with the other party, taking good faith measures to ensure visitation and refraining from doing anything to undermine the relationship between the other party and the children. Each party is ORDERED to do everything within their power to create in the children’s mind a loving and caring feeling towards the other party. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that each party is permanently enjoined from speaking badly or in a disparaging fashion about the other party to anyone in any way in the children’s presence. It is the intention of the Court that this provision be enforceable by contempt of Court.
The Court further notes that each party has been admonished by the Court that their failure to act in accordance with this specific order of the Court shall be punishable by any and all remedies available for contempt of Court, including, but no limited to, the imposition of a fine up to Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) and/or confinement in jail for up to six (6) months for each violation thereof.
If you’re planning a divorce, and you think a Loving and Caring Order might be a needed part of your decree, we’re happy to discuss it as early in the process as our initial consultation. You may find, even if you don’t ultimately need it, that it can drive an important discussion about co-parenting and civility.