Marital settlement agreements can have a variety of different components to them. Each agreement is unique, just as the marriage was unique to the divorcing couple. If you have children you will want to negotiate on how you will be handling the summer season.
Summers can easily be overlooked during a marital settlement agreement negotiation. Often parents will focus on the day-to-day logistics of the school year. Sometimes by the time the couples have worked out the school year for their children they are drained and don't give enough attention to summers. Avoid potential arguments and misunderstandings by planning ahead and adding summers to your agreement.
As you move through your negotiation keep your conversations and decisions centered on your children. You want to make the best decisions for your children, which may not always be the most convenient ones for you. Also, keep in mind how your decisions will affect your children.
One of the first topics parents tackle under this category is time. How much time each parent will spend with his or her children? Considerations are often given when one parent is the main person who takes care of them during the school year. Some agreements will give the parent who spends less time with them an opportunity to have more time during the summer.
Another option is to do a fifty-fifty split with time shared with the children. This arrangement can range from alternating weeks to having the children during the first part of the summer and the other parent having the children for the second part. With older children there can be a value and getting their input of how they want to spend their summers.
Consider your involvement with your child's activities. Who will be driving them or picking them up? Will both of you be present for their games or presentations?
A vital component is a summer budget. Will your children's needs change during the summer? Will you have additional expenses – such as summer camp? Some other possible expenses include:
- Club Fees;
- Additional educational help; and
- Lessons (i.e., driver's education).
For parents with older children other considerations come into play. Will your child be working? How will time split between two household affect their summer job, sports, marching band and other activities?
It's difficult to plan for every possible situation. Try to include a clause about how you will resolve disagreements between you and your ex. This will save a lot of frustration when you have an unexpected summer situation.
Children look forward to the summer months. Give them a solid start for the warm weather by having their future planned.