There’s a general idea that a court cannot order a parent to be a good parent. While that is true in most scenarios, sometimes the parties can agree or a court will order that specific language is put in the final decree to ensure each parent is caring for the child in the best possible ways. This language is called the ‘Loving and Caring Order.’
Basically, the language in the order requires parents to encourage a strong relationship between their children and the other parent. It also requires them to inform the other party of significant issues in their child’s life, such as health problems, school and extracurricular activities and vacation plans.
Including this kind of language is a great option for parents who might agree on a lot of things, but still do not fully trust the other parent to cooperate with them on co-parenting. That’s because this language is ‘enforceable’ by the court, meaning that if the other parent does not follow through, they can be punished by a fine or even imprisonment for failure to follow this order. Both parents can rest assured that they will not cut out of their child’s life, and each parent will make an effort to cooperate – and if they don’t, they know there will be repercussions.
Below, find a sample of what lawyers in Texas often incorporate into ‘the Loving and Caring Order’ of a divorce decree.
Loving and Caring Order (template language)
Petitioner and Respondent are ORDERED to encourage and nurture the relationship between the children and 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. Petitioner and Respondent are ORDERED to do everything within his or her power to create in the children’s mind a loving and caring feeling towards the other party. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Petitioner and Respondent are 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 FURTHER ORDERED that Petitioner and Respondent are permanently enjoined from discussing this case with the children, including but not limited to interview in chambers, pleadings, discovery, strategy and/or the effect of any action taken by either party. 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 not limited to, the imposition of a fine of up to Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) and/or confinement in jail for up to six (6) months for each violation thereof.
Petitioner and Respondent are FURTHER ORDERED AND DECREED to notify the other party immediately verbally or in writing of any and all events pertaining to the children, including but not limited to:
- Any and all medical, dental, and psychological conditions of the children;
- The identity, including name, address, and telephone number, of any physician, dentist, or psychologist providing treatment to the children, and all medications, if any, prescribed for the children, including, but not limited to, the time the medication was last given to a children;
- Any matter relating to the children’s educational status, including school activities, grades, homework, field trips, disciplinary slips, progress notes, teacher conferences, and the like;
- Any matter relating to the extra-curricular activities of the children, including, but not limited to, the times and places of such activities;
- Vacation plans which include the children, including the itinerary and location of the children and a telephone number where the children may be reached, if the children are to be absent from the residence of a parent for more than twenty-four consecutive hours during any period of possession by a parent; and
- Any and all other matters which affect or impact on the welfare of the children in any matter, to include anything as may be as insignificant as a hang nail on the children.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Petitioner and Respondent shall refrain from allowing the children to overhear a parent’s telephone calls with the other parent. Petitioner and Respondent are ordered to place a photograph of the other parent in the children’s bedroom at all times.
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