The divorce process can prove challenging for parents. Deciding what to do with your children during a separation is one of the most important decisions that you must make.
For instance, you’ll need to figure out how you’ll share expenses for the kids. There are many different ways that you might divide expenses.
The right solution for you will vary depending on where you live and your circumstances. However, a few pointers might make managing these decisions easier.
To learn more about the legally shared expenses for children after a divorce, continue reading.
Contemplating Legally Shared Expenses
Ending a marriage is challenging on many levels, especially when a child is involved. There’s a lot at stake. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the points involved in the finances of co-parenting.
During the separation process, you’ll split assets that you’ve accumulated over many years. Now, you’ll need to find common ground to support your child until they become an adult.
The court system compels separating couples to enter a divorce decree. It details the conditions of the separation.
For example, it might establish alimony and child support payments. It will also establish a visitation schedule for the noncustodial parent.
Furthermore, the decree will establish new beneficiaries for any financial assets. It will also divide any shared debts.
While you work through these conditions, some of the hardest things to do are to simultaneously focus on now and plan for the future. However, you must advocate for yourself and your family during this process.
The separation process is your opportunity to seek what’s best for yourself and your child. The court will take this point into consideration when you file the decree.
Most importantly, it’s important that everyone involved has their voice heard in order to establish an appropriate plan of action moving forward.
Some Common Legally Shared Expenses
In many cases, divorcing couples establish child support to cover the care of their offspring. These payments may go toward child care.
They may also go toward activities and college tuition. Child support also covers basic necessities such as food and clothing.
Sometimes, however, parents disagree over whether child support should cover all of their child’s expenses. Alternatively, they may disagree whether parents should split various costs.
With this in mind, the following entries offer a closer look at child-rearing expenses.
Daily Necessities H3
The idea of child support is to protect the interests of children. Ideally, it shields them from the economic impact of a divorce. Also, it helps them to maintain their standard of living.
Child support provides assistance for the parent with primary custody. It helps them to meet their child’s basic needs. It also helps the custodial parent maintain the standard of living they enjoyed while they were married.
Necessities include food, clothing and shelter. They might also include other basic needs such as personal hygiene products.
When parents get divorced, the law may expect them to either share these expenses equally or based on their incomes. However, in some cases, this isn’t always possible. In such a case, it’s in the child’s best interests if both parties can come up with an agreement about how they’ll handle their shared child-rearing responsibilities and costs.
Extra Expenses H3
Not all expenses are covered by child support. For instance, child support might not cover sports activities, school excursions or music lessons.
Also, child support usually doesn’t cover large expenses. Typically, a parent can expect to incur this kind of expense as a child grows older. For example, a teen that’s transitioning into adulthood will most likely want a car and need auto insurance.
Post-Secondary Education H3
In most states, the age of majority is 18 years old. Usually, child support ends at this time. In some states, however, child support will continue beyond the age of majority to cover college expenses.
This kind of child support is considered post-minority or post-secondary support. The terms of this kind of support may vary in different states.
For example, the noncustodial parent might pay post-minority support in addition to child support. Alternatively, they may pay it as part of child support. In some instances, a noncustodial parent might make a separate post-minority child support payment after regular child support comes to an end.
Extracurricular Education and Healthcare H3
Some states include health insurance, work-related child care and uninsured medical expenses in their support calculations. It’s a part of their formula for figuring out basic child support.
In other states, however, a judge may designate a separate payment. This payment will go toward your children’s medical expenses, child care and education-related expenses.
Education expenses, for example, may include tuition or tutoring. Here, it’s helpful to understand that these items are separate from the basic child support calculation.
These expenses could include participation in sports or music activities. If the court deems these activities a necessary part of the child’s education, it might order payment for these activities as a part of child support.
Sometimes, parents can’t agree on necessary child support expenses. They also have conflicts over who should pay for it.
In these cases, a judge may need to intervene. Typically, the court will divide the responsibility of paying for extra expenses.
The court will begin this process by examining each parent’s income. It will also consider which parent wants their child to participate in the activity.
Also, the court will assess whether a child has participated in this activity in the past. It may also assess why each parent supports or opposes the activity. After measuring these points, the court may modify the child support order to address these expenses.
Finding Common Ground
In most instances, child support doesn’t cover expenses beyond bare necessities. As a result, it’s helpful if parents can reach their own agreement.
In some cases, separating couples incorporate this agreement into their divorce decree. It becomes a part of their parenting plan.
There are times when separating couples will make these kinds of agreements very specific. Often, however, this kind of agreement can prove restrictive.
What’s worse, they can fail to accommodate all necessary expenses. Frequently, a problem in this area will arise when there’s a large disparity in the income of the parents.
Sometimes, these kinds of arrangements work, and sometimes they don’t. Most often, however, it’s difficult for them to succeed. In the end, it depends on the parents.
When managing financial issues with your children, it’s always better for parents to maintain a civil arrangement. This kind of arrangement means coming to terms with cost-sharing even if it’s not in the divorce decree. In most cases, this kind of common ground ends up benefiting both parents—and the child.
The Realities of Separation
Ending a marriage is always unpleasant on some level. Unfortunately, this kind of unpleasantness frequently manifests when it comes to child-related expenses. As a parent, however, it’s important to minimize conflict in this area as much as possible.
It helps to have a discussion with your spouse before finalizing your divorce. During this conversation, you should try to come to an agreement about how you’ll share your child’s expenses.
Eventually, you’ll develop a clear agreement in your divorce decree. However, relying solely on your divorce papers can turn into a minefield. Sticking to the letter of your decree can lead to unneeded disputes.
Also, it can fuel competition between you and your ex-partner. For example, without an amicable separation, parents might compete over enrolling their children in a preferred activity. Disputes can also arise over your child’s technology needs.
In many cases, the parent who does all the signing up and enrolling can feel like they’re carrying all the responsibility. They can feel like they’re covering all the expenses and not getting reimbursed.
Over time, this debt can accumulate. When this happens, the parent typically resorts to legal action. However, it’s in your child’s best interest to address this issue before it becomes a legal matter.
Ideally, you and your ex-spouse share decision-making. In this scenario, neither of you should end up blindsided by expenses.
When enrolling your child in extracurricular activities, it’s helpful to begin by talking to your spouse. You may even have to have this conversation every semester.
Some parents, however, must negotiate these activities in the parenting plan of their divorce decree. This circumstance typically arises when one parent doesn’t support a current activity.
It might also arise when the activity results in a significant expense. It could also come up if the child activity cuts into parenting time.
A Step in the Right Direction
It’s easy to suggest amicable co-parenting. However, challenges do arise in this regard.
Some parents want their children involved in extracurricular activities every day. Others feel that a single sport each season is enough.
If you’re going to include activities and your parenting plan, it’s a good idea to leave room for flexibility. Also, make sure that the plan incorporates the child’s preferences.
In general, it’s important to clearly share any expenses related to the activity. If you expect the other parent to support the activity financially, then you should have a clear list of what those expenses entail.
Balancing Expenses With Fairness H3
Most separating parents opt for an alternative to paying for specific items. Instead, they usually agree to share costs equally. Alternatively, they might share costs based on their income according to child support calculations.
In theory, this method allows for changes in proportion as child support changes. However, it’s very rare that this happens. Most often, parents don’t want to relive going through court.
If you and your ex-spouse disagree on activities, sometimes, the answer lies in who pays. For example, you might want your child to participate in an activity, but the other parent is not supportive. Yet, they may agree to the activity if you agree to cover all the expenses for it.
It’s also important to make sure that the activity doesn’t interfere with the other parent’s time with your child. If the activity takes place during their parenting time, they should agree to it.
A divorce decree serves as a guideline. With one, however, there are still many details to work out along the way.
When it comes to accounting for shared expenses, things can get tricky. This area can prove especially problematic when multiple children are involved.
Again, it can also prove troublesome if there’s a large disparity in income. In these cases, you’ll want to put forth the extra effort to resolve who foots the bill.
A Solution for Sharing Expenses and More
After a separation, you’ll have a lot of things to figure out together every day. For instance, you’ll need to figure out who’ll pay for and actually purchase your child’s school supplies.
In some cases, you’ll need to figure out how to receive reimbursement from the other parent. You’ll also need to come up with a way to negotiate unplanned expenses.
With so many things to consider, how will you keep track of it all? Fortunately, a co-parenting app—such as 2houses—can make the process easier. You can use it to better manage finances and the other affairs of your two houses.
For instance, a co-parenting app will allow you to share messages with each other about your child easily. It will also give you access to a shared calendar.
You can use the calendar to keep track of scheduled visits and other important dates. Also, you can use the co-parenting app to keep track of shared expenses and send real-time reimbursement requests.
A Co-Parenting App for Peaceful Child Rearing
Now you know more about the legally shared expenses for children after a divorce. What you need now is a powerful technology for harmonious co-parenting.
2houses is the child custody tool that helps parents navigate co-parenting after a divorce or separation, so they can focus on what matters most—their children. It’s easy to use, affordable and available anywhere in the world.
Our goal is simple—to give you more time with your kids and make sure they’re safe and happy. What’s more, we’ll do all of this without breaking the bank or taking up too much of your valuable time.
See for yourself. Please feel free to take a look at our features to learn more about a better way to manage two houses.