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Do email 'agreements' count as revisions to a parenting agreements even if the email 'agreement' is a result of an ultimatum?

Chicago, IL |

My parenting agreement states wkend visitation with my son from 9 am saturday to 7 pm sunday.

A while back his mom said he was having a problem and didn't want to sleepover anymore. She suggested I could drop him off on saturday and pick him back up on sunday. I said I didn't like that, we argued and for the sake of moving on I said sunday only for the short term.

Its beyond short term and he says he doesn't have a problem. When I ask him to sleepover he hesitates because he has now been trained to now come for the 2 days. I'm wondering if this email agreement to his mom's ultimatum supersedes the parenting agreement.

We now have a court date over this topic.

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Attorney answers 4


You agreed -- an agreement is an agreement. It doesn't have the power of the court behind it, but you still agreed. What you're supposed to do is write up an agreement, both sign it, and then present it to the court to be entered in the court's record as a court order.

You should have talked with your attorney about it before your responded. We recommend that divorced parties in conflict keep an attorney on retainer for exactly these sorts of situations. You receive the e-mail from your former wife, you call your attorney and forward the e-mail, your attorney writes a response for you. SImple, affordable, better than going to court . . . and you and you son wouldn't be in this jam.

Anyway, her attorney will not argue that an agreement was reached. Her attorney will argue that it is in the best interest of the child to maintain the status quo . . . even the child thinks so.

Work with your attorney to undo this damage and keep him / her on retainer in the future to avoid problems like this. If you don't have an attorney, hire one.

Questions? Call -- 312-498-3881 -- no charge, no obligation.


You did not mention what you ultimatum was, and you have not indicated whether there is a provision in your parenting agreement for changes but you have both set yourselves up to return to court. You also did not mention how long your parenting agreement has been in effect. You will be require do attend mediation if you cannot agree. Hire an attorney and go about this the right way. In the long run, it will be better for your son as well as for you and in the future, make sure all agreements are signed.


If she wants it changed, I would say you could request a change yourself. First of all, is your weekend visitation every weekend or every other weekend? If it is every other weekend, then I would say you could ask for Friday through Sunday. I don't know why you didn't get that in the first place. Maybe only she had a lawyer and not you. Second of all, adults make the decisions and not children. Judy is right that there can be mediation. If mediation fails, there might also be a child's attorney appointed. If you have other, specific questions, I can be reached at 847-241-1793. I am quite familiar with the Cook County courts.
Good luck,


If your parenting agreement was entered and approved by a Judge in Illinois, it has the full force and effect of a court order. The parenting agreement is enforceable. Without seeing the actual email, it is difficult to say whether or not a Judge will be influenced by its terms. However, you can always argue that you were not represented by an attorney and did not know the impact of the email agreement. If the two of you cannot come to an agreement, you should try to go to mediation to see if the two of you can discuss mom's concerns in a neutral forum where you each get a chance to give your perspective on the situation, hear what the other has to say, and discuss options. Mediation with a trained and experienced mediator has a very high success rate. Another option to explore is "family" counseling to discuss each of your concerns and to try to correct any inappropriate behavior. You should definitely hire an attorney to help you with this situation as your time with your son is something you would want to protect.

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