How to Co-Parent After a Divorce: Finance Edition

Finances and divorce is such a complicated topic. Veronica Baxter, a legal assistant and blogger, working with Lee A. Schwartz, Esq., a busy Philadelphia divorce lawyer, wrote this post to shed some light on the topic for you.

Going through a divorce is hard, no matter how old you are, the reason for the divorce, or how long you were married. However, going through a divorce is especially challenging when there are children involved. Whether your children are young, teenagers, or even young adults, a divorce is going to be hard on them. If you are in the midst of divorce, or you have already finalized your divorce, you are likely already aware of that. In addition to it being emotionally challenging for you and your children, it is also financially challenging.

As you and your ex-spouse learn how to raise your children as two separate entities, rather than as a team, it’s important that you do your best to think about finances for your children in a practical way. You must learn how to co-parent financially for the sake of your children. Whether you are in the process of learning the ropes when it comes to co-parenting, or you are looking for ways to improve your co-parenting tactics in regards to money, this post will be able to help you.

How Do You Handle Expenses While Co-Parenting?

Sometimes handling expenses while co-parenting can be a difficult task, especially if your ex-spouse isn’t cooperative or receptive. With that being said, here are some tips to help you co-parent successfully when it comes to finances.

Pay for the Things You are Legally Required to Pay for

This is perhaps the most obvious way to co-parent successfully in regards to finances. Every divorce is different, and depending on what the court decides, as well as what your child custody lawyer proposes, you and your ex-spouse will both be legally responsible for paying for different things. When most people get divorced, oftentimes one of the parents has to pay child support to the parent that is predominately raising the child/children. If the parent that is responsible for paying child support does not, he or she could be fined or face jail time. If you are in charge of paying child support, it will make your life easier to make sure you simply just pay it. Though you may not agree with the fact you have to pay child support, it will be in your best interest to pay it and then seek further legal assistance. Paying what you are legally required to pay for will make co-parenting- in terms of finances- as stress-free and straight forward as possible.

Keep Your Child’s Best Interest in Mind

No matter what, you need to keep your child’s best interests in mind when it comes to paying for things after a divorce. You and your ex-spouse should do your best to split things equally throughout the duration of your child’s life and should both work to make sure your child has all that he or she needs to live happily and comfortably. In addition to child support, you should still do what you can to assist in extra expenses as long as you are able to. Some additional expenses that you should assist in paying for with your child’s best interest in mind include:
  • Extracurricular sports or activities
  • Doctors visits/procedures
  • College
  • Clothing
Likewise, be sure to always provide a safe and clean environment for your child to live or visit, depending on whether you have full custody or not. Be sure that your child has enough food, a place to sleep, a place to bathe, appropriate grooming necessities, and that he or she is not in the presence of anyone that could be considered dangerous.

Communication is Always Key

Like most things in life, communication is always key. You and your ex-spouse will have to- likely more times than not- put your differences aside and discuss finances. If you and your ex-spouse get along well, this will be no issue. On the other hand, if you and your ex have a rocky relationship, you will need to work at creating positive and healthy communication. Perhaps plan one day a week where you both talk on the phone about your children and current finances. Or meet up once a month to do the same.

Make it a point to be open about your financial situation and expectations. Do you think your ex could be paying for more? Tell him or her. Are you struggling financially right now? Make this known. Has child support been late or has your ex not contributed anything to your child? Address this issue. Regardless of what you need to talk about financially, make sure to do it in a calm and clear way; this will allow you to communicate in a healthy way and to co-parent to the best of both of your abilities.

Do Your Best to Co-Parent in Terms of Finances

As you and your ex co-parent, it’s likely that you will hit bumps in the road and that not every day is going to be easy, and it’s likely that some of the issues you may end up facing will have to do with money. Therefore, it's important that you are as prepared as you can be when it comes to learning how to co-parent and also manage the finances that go along with it. Keep these few tips in mind, and if you are currently struggling with co-parenting and managing finances, consider reading books specifically on this topic, doing further research, or even talking to a financial advisor.

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal

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