Most divorce judgments and agreements have rights and obligations that are time specific. Right after the divorce is granted, each spouse should create a calendar that has all the dates, and obligations created by the divorce. If there are children, the calendar should have all dates until the children are emancipated. For some people, emancipation may occur at age 18. In Massachusetts, many children are not emancipated until age 23. I recommend that parents in Massachusetts create a calendar with dates created by the divorce decree up through the 23rd birthday of the youngest child..
Failure to create a calendar can result in loss of rights or even litigation and payment of your ex-spouse's attorney fees. The following dates may be addressed under the separation agreement or divorce decree:
- Visitation schedule
- Holiday visitation schedule
- Vacation schedule – Many agreements require parties to select time for vacation plans 5 or 6 months in advance. If a person fails to make the selection, they may find that the other parent will select time that prevents them from vacationing as planned.
- Tax returns – Many agreeements require parties to exchange tax or earnings information on a regular basis. Failure to do so can result in a contempt of court proceeding.
- Selection of summer camp – The agreement may require a party to notify the other of summer camp proposals by January or February of each year. Failure to do so may excuse the other parent from contributing to the cost of summer camp.
- Sale or refinance of real estate – Frequently dates are imposed that require the sale or refinance of real estate. Since it takes months to do either, a calendar entry should be made months before the deadline or it may be impossible to meet the deadline.
- Life Insurance and Health Insurance – There may be deadlines for purchasing insurance.
- Payment of bills
- Other obligations
After getting divorced, review the agreement or judgment. If there is any question interpretation of the provisions of the agreement, consult the attorney who represented you in the divorce.