Is there any difference legally between the words “Shall” and “Will”. I was told that I need to use the word “Shall” as it indicates “have to” and that “Will” was a less strong word. We are creating a Parenting Agreement.
First of all, read this: http://www.utexas.edu/law/faculty/wschiess/legalwriting/2005/05/shall-vs-will.html, which may answer your legal questions.
“As far as general grammar, will is usually the simple future indicative: “This will happen,” “You will be surprised.” Shall is related to the subjunctive, and means “Let it be so,” which you might see in legal or business writing: “The employee shall produce all required documentation,” “A committee shall be appointed,” etc. (They’re not just predicting that the employee’s going to do it or the committee is going to form; they’re declaring that they must, or at least should, happen.) But this rule works only for the second person (you) and the third person (he, she, it, they). The first person — I and we — reverses the rule, so “I shall do it” means I’m going to get around to it, while “I will do it” shows a mustering of resolve (let it be so).”
Think of shall as similar to should. Will is a stronger word than shall or should. There is no room for subjectivity with will.
Shall is the best word to use.