Raising children is expensive, and that becomes even more noticeable when you go through a divorce and have to pay for everything yourself. Being able to find ways to control expenses can help you to keep everything manageable.
It may benefit you to work with your co-parent to help keep the expenses as low as possible without having a negative effect on the children. For the most part, it’s expected that children will be able to keep up with the same lifestyle they had before the divorce. This can take some pre-planning on the part of co-parents.
Looking at the shared costs
Not all costs related to raising the children will be shared costs. For example, you can’t expect that your ex would pay for the toiletries that your child uses at your house or for the child’s dinner at a restaurant if you go out to eat while the child is with you.
You and your ex need to determine what costs you do need to share so you know how to handle those expenses. Anything else is an expense that you’ll have to cover yourself. You also need to write out how reimbursement will be made to the paying parent for the shared expenses. For example, shared costs may include:
- A cell phone bill (if both parents agree the child should have one)
- Summer camp expenses
- School field trips
- Expenses for extracurriculars, like band or football
Always document any shared expenses and the reimbursement information. This helps you to ensure that you’re getting the money you should and that you’re repaying your ex as required.
Make sure that you get everything in writing when it comes to the child custody agreement. You and your ex can look over the parenting plan to determine what’s supposed to happen. It’s a good idea that everything financial is put into that order because money is one of the main stressors when it comes to child custody.