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Does a signed handwritten letter between parents overide a court order for parent visitation?

Sewell, NJ |

My ex and I have a court order agreement as to the pick up and drop off times for our children. My work schedule changed so I wasn't able to stick to the court order I prepared a handwritten agreement that we both signed stating that we agreed upon changing the court order for a month. Does the court order overide any handwritten and signed agreement that we both agreed to if the cops were to be called during child exchange?

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Attorney answers 2


Your handwritten agreement is probably good. Generally speaking, the only thing that "overrides" a court order is another court order. So, if you ever wanted to be certain that you weren't violating a court order, you should obtain an updated court order -- which you can do either by motion, or often by signing a "consent order" and asking the judge informally to sign it.

However, the courts favor the idea of parents working together to raise their children, and to address day-to-day variations in the custody and visitation schedule. If the two of you are on the same page, and if you can make an agreement to vary the original court order, then your agreement will be honored by the court. A written agreement, like your signed letter, is likely to be treated as a "contract" between the two of you. (You can also ask a lawyer to write up a quick "stipulation modifying court order" or "agreement for temporary modification of parenting time, etc.").

Good luck. If you need more help, feel free to contact us. We have offices in Woodbury and in Camden County. If you think this answer was helpful please click the thumbs up icon.


This is a confusing post. You two have an "agreement" but you are concerned about the cops being called if you are not following the prior court order? It appears that you are very uncertain about your ex and suspect she or someone else will pull a "gotcha" on you. Courts welcome consent orders which modify court orders UNLESS it concerns the amount of support which can only be changed by the court not by the parents. Furthermore, if you have concerns about a "gotcha" you might both benefit from some parenting courses or family therapy. You also might find my legal guides on parental alienation instructive.
On my profile there are several legal guides. I recommend reviewing the following which may be helpful to you:

Hiring a lawyer helpful; Is it Legal? Is it Illegal?
Understanding the different court systems;
A guide to legal terms used in litigation…………………………………l.

Divorce in General and How It's Handled in New Jersey
Financial Dos and Don'ts after a Divorce (written by Attorney Gabriel Cheong)
Child Abduction and International Law; Parental Alienation Syndrome: An Introduction; Parental Alienation: in Family Law Litigation;

LEGAL DISCLAIMER…………………………………………………………………..
Mr. Sarno is licensed to practice law in NJ and NY. His response here is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/ client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter in question. Many times the questioner may leave out details which would make the reply unsuitable. Mr. Sarno strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their own state to acquire more information about this issue.