Co-Parenting: Managing School-Related Expenses

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School supplies in every store and cooler weather — depending on where you live — are sure signs of school starting, and it’s not long before the school buses are back on their routes and your child is back in school. While it’s a fun time of year full of new beginnings and new adventures, it can also be the most expensive for parents. Co-parenting about finances successfully takes grace, compassion, and respect, but it is possible to manage all of the school-related expenses with your ex peacefully.

Dividing School and Extracurricular Expenses

The very first part of managing school expenses is deciding what qualifies for that category. In some cases, your divorce decree and co-parenting agreement may do this for you. Sometimes these will list certain expenses — such as sports fees, school picture costs, and private school tuition — and the percentage that each parent is expected to pay. If this is the case, you’re in luck. Keeping things organized is as simple as informing the other parent about any shared expenses your incur and making your own payments promptly. Remember to keep receipts for any expenses you paid for so you can show proof of payment just in case any issues do occur later on.

However, for other parents, there’s no guidance in the court order and they’re left to their own agreements. In these cases, you may want to sit down with your co-parent and try to come to an agreement on who will pay what — which will be different for every situation. It may help to make a list of all anticipated expenses beforehand — bonus points if you can show what all had to be paid last school year — so that everyone is on the same page as far as expectations. Some parents might just split all expenses down the middle, while others may need to resort to a percentage system that takes into account disparity between incomes.
Whatever you decide, remember to put it in writing, so there’s no confusion later on. You might even want to consider having your agreement added to the court order, but keep in mind, that you may still need to revisit and amend things as your children get older and expenses and needs change.

Organizing Finances While Co-Parenting

Staying organized when you’re sharing expenses can be a challenge, but 2houses makes it easier. The in-app financial management system lets you keep track of your expenses and categorize each one so it’s always clear what money was spent for which expense. You can also send the other parent an invitation to reimburse you for their portion of the expense. Just use the mobile app to take a picture of the receipt and add it right then to the expense.

Use the wish list feature to let them know if there’s anything extra coming up your child needs, such as new shoes for cross-country or a class ring. At any time, you can export the expenses into a CSV or PDF file for easy accounting and documentation. Keeping everything in one place makes it easier for both parents to access the information at any point without having to call or message the other parent or try to get information through the child.
Whether you’re tracking large amounts like tuition payments or just need a way to know if you already paid your half, 2houses is designed to make it easier for co-parenting families to manage the financial side of the school year.