Think About the Children: Practical Issues for Divorcing Parents
For most divorcing couples, the children are their first priority. Much is written about the psychological effect that divorce can have on kids and with good reason. Many children are very confused during a divorce and can often blame themselves for what is happening. Without the proper support system, children can be deeply affected by divorce. This should come as no surprise considering that divorcees themselves often feel traumatized by the event.
During a divorce, parents will need to make a number of decisions that affect their children. The first issue that may come to mind is the issue of custody. Parents must decide if one person should have sole custody or if custody should be shared. This is often a very contentious subject. Unfortunately, even though the issue of custody alone is overwhelming, there are other issues that parents should think about.
There are a number of other considerations that can be included in a divorce agreement. If the issues are not addressed up front then they may become a source of conflict later. Most divorcees want to avoid the trouble of going back to court to amend the divorce agreement.
So what are the things that a parent should consider? The issues of custody and child support are more apparent and most parents remember to address these issues, but other issues are not considered. It can be hard for parents of small children to think about needs that may be in the distant future. The costs of college and the costs of a wedding can be included in a divorce agreement. Perhaps there are other special events like a Sweet 16 or Bar Mitzvah that should be included.
Other considerations for parents included questions about education expenses. If the child attends a private school who will pay? Does it matter how much the school costs? What religion will the child practice, if any? Will they attend some type of service? Where? Who will cover the child’s health and life insurance needs? If certain medical expenses are not covered will one of the parents bear the full burden? Who will pay for summer camp and after school activities?
Another consideration for parents is the tax consequences of their actions. What are the tax consequences or child support or alimony payments? Which parent could benefit most from a tax deduction? Who should claim the child as a dependent?
These are just a few of the issues that parents may want to think about when drafting a divorce agreement. The purpose of highlighting these issues is not to make parents feel even more overwhelmed. The hope is, by addressing these issues now, problems can be avoided later. Preventing future conflict among the parents will ultimately benefit the children.
Thinking about the Children
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