On November 23, 2010, the Michigan Court of Appeals issued a decision, White v White (Docket No. 293976, click here to go to the text of the opinion), by which it struck down a provision of a Judgment of Divorce. That provision prohibited the “entertainment of unrelated members of the opposite sex overnight while the children are in their care.” The Court of Appeals ruled that provision to be unenforceable. It had been imposed by the trial court judge, with a comment regarding the morality that parents should teach their children. Notably, neither parent requested the provision.
But, if such a Court-imposed provision is unenforceable, would the same provision be enforceable if it had been agreed to by the parents? What if only one parent had requested it, and the Court included it?
If such a provision is unenforceable, how can a parent who does want to set a certain example for his children, prevent them from being part of precisely what he wants them to avoid, while they are with the other parent, who does decide to cohabit with her significant other?
This case, and its treatment by the Michigan Supreme Court (if it goes there), may have some far-reaching effects on co-parents of minor children in the State of Michigan.