Figuring out expenses is one of the most complex aspects of divorce. Regardless of how assets are divided or who pays child support, you may still need to deal with money issues regarding your child both during and after divorce proceedings.
Having a plan in place is the best way to alleviate stress and ensure your child has what they need for a happy and healthy life. U.S. News & World Report recommends the following strategies when it comes to child-related costs and expenses.
Put the needs of your children first
When you get frustrated with your ex and money issues, think of your children. Their needs and happiness trump all else, so keep them front and center at all times. That is not to say you should pay for everything or neglect your needs. It does mean you should address financial problems with your former spouse civilly and rationally to come to a solution that is amenable for all involved.
Do not blame your ex for money issues
It is tempting to blame your ex for existing money problems, especially when they are reluctant to share in child-rearing costs equally. However, do not make your child privy to these frustrations. Regardless of the problems between you, kids deserve to have loving relationships with both parents after a divorce. Bad-mouthing your former spouse will affect their relationship, no matter how valid your complaints are.
Develop a reasonable solution
The best way to deal with financial problems is to prevent them before they begin. Sit down with your ex to develop a financial child-rearing plan. You can split expenses however you see fit, but consider splitting them by percentage if one parent makes significantly more than the other. You can also implement a rule that states special purchases, such as presents for holidays and birthdays, are purchased by both parents together to mitigate the expense.
While developing an amicable solution is always best, be sure to discuss financial issues with an attorney. Additionally, make any arrangements you develop official in case there are future issues.