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Marital Settlement Agreements Help With New School Year

Posted By Attorney Jim Cairns || 3-Sep-2012

The school year is about to start for many students throughout the state of Pennsylvania. Changes from a summer schedule to the scholastic schedule will soon start to affect your family as you settle into new routines. This is a good time to pull out your marital settlement agreement and review details for the upcoming school year.

If you are divorcing in Pennsylvania and are currently working out your marital settlement agreement we have some areas you may want to consider to help this time of year run smoothly for you and your family. Will physical custody of the children change between you and your spouse as your children head into the new school year? Have you decided if your children spend every other summer, or every summer, with one individual? Prepare a child custody schedule to ensure a seamless transition for your children from one household to the other.

Another consideration is splitting summer time between two households. How will you handle vacations that are away from home? Will your children be spending time at family functions such as family reunions?

Divorce means that you must divide child rearing responsibilities differently. Think about the roles and responsibilities which will play out during the school year. Will one parent have sole responsibility for educating the children? How will you distribute responsibilities for your child, such as extra-curricular activities? Will one person be in charge of pick-ups and another for dropping the kids off for different school events? Do you want both parents to be involved in picking up the children from school? Think about how your choices will affect your kids. Will they be embarrassed by other kids talking about their divorced parents switching off pick up times and going to different homes? Talk with your children about these aspects of your divorce that affect them.

A helpful way to plan the school year and family roles is to get a copy of the school calendar. Most major activities will already be planned out for the school year and then you can easily add extra-curricular activities to your family's schedules.

Look into the future and think about if you want to make provisions in your marital settlement agreement about how you want to make decisions about the children's schooling. Your children's schedules and needs will change as they grow older. How will you make decisions about their future needs? Will one person have authority in some areas to make final decisions?

Don't forget to add how you are going to cover extracurricular expenses. Will you split them? Will the highest income earner be solely responsible? Also, how are you going to handle making sure homework is completed now that you are divorced? Will the parent who does not have custody check-in with the kids to make sure they are meeting their scholastic responsibilities? How will you share information about the children now that you are divorced? Do you both have online access to their progress? Don't be shy about asking the school to send duplicate reports to each parent.

Keep in mind that the overall goal should be to put your children first. They love both parents and when divorced individuals work together for the future of their children they not only model positive behavior, but also give them a sense of security. Remember to always do what is in the best interest of your children.