“Enforceability of Custody and Visitation Orders: What To Avoid”

Although some people will go through the whole course of their family law case without involving law enforcement to enforce custody or visitation orders, the fact of the matter is that a large proportion of people will have to at some point in time. Because of this, how your orders are worded and made are very important. You have to keep in mind that the officer reading your document with not have any information on the case other than what he or she has in their hand from the court. Here are some things to avoid and general tips.

*Avoid “alternate weekend” language. This can be impossible to calculate a year or two after the order is made. Instead, designate weekend, such as the 1st, 3rd, and 5th, and and specifically whether the weekend is measured by the Saturday or the Friday.

*Avoid “as mutually arranged.” This phrase is completely unenforceable, and if you have a disagreement, you will have to go back to court to get more specific orders. It is a good thing to have orders to fall back on, even if you are agreeing to change them for convenience.

*Make sure you have pickup locations and times clearly specified.

*Make sure holidays and special days such as birthdays and Mother and Father’s Day clearly spelled out.

*Make sure that an order is created, filed, and signed immediately after your hearing so that you have the most current orders.

*Make sure you have a copy of the most current order in the vehicle that you use for exchanges and at your residence at all times.

DISCLAIMER: All legal principles quoted are valid as of the date of writing in the State of California. However, you should NEVER base your actions on a legal article, blog, or internet story, as facts in real life are complicated. You should have your case evaluated by an attorney experienced in the area of law needed for your case. In addition, there are often exceptions and potential changes to results that occur due to facts that you may think are trivial or unimportant. This article should not be taken in any way as legal advice on your specific legal matter.

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