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Planning for the school year after divorce

Divorced parents in Pennsylvania can take advantage of the new school year as a time to help children also deal with the transition of their new family situation. They may want to talk to their children about the year ahead and their goals. While this may include academic goals, it is also important to acknowledge relationships, extracurricular activities and jobs for older children.

Ideally, this conversation would take place with the other parent present, but if that is not possible, the custodial parent can still encourage the child to talk to the other parent about these things as well. The parent can help the child create a list of the top three goals for the school year. Parents may also want to talk about what support they can offer children in any challenges ahead.

Another consideration is expenses. While parents may have discussed major expenses as part of child support conversations, there are many incidental expenses that may arise during the school year. These might include school supplies plus money for events such as homecoming. Child care costs if one parent is sick may be another item to think about. Children who are old enough to work may contribute toward some of these, and even if they do not, parents can teach them to begin tracking expenses.

Parents might find that once the school year is underway, they need to modify the child custody and visitation schedule. There could be changed circumstances such as a parent moving farther away from the school or taking on new job responsibilities that would disrupt the child's schedule. In some cases, a parent might even need to move to another town. In any of these cases, a parent may want to consult an attorney about how to proceed. The main objective should be to avoid disruption to the child's life and take steps that are in the child's best interests.

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