How to Facilitate Shared Expenses Management for Divorced Parents

How to Facilitate Shared Expenses Management for Divorced Parents

Children are money-sucking machines. The cost for a middle-income family to raise a child is roughly $233,610. That’s almost $13,000 a year for 18 years in shared expenses.

After a divorce, your costs may change, but you should still expect to pay thousands for your child. You must work with your co-parent on shared expenses so your child has the best life possible. 

When should you talk with your ex about shared expenses options? How does child support affect shared expenses? What should you do about one-time and emergency expenses? 

Answer these questions and you can cover all of your bills without a problem. Here is your quick guide.

Talk to Your Ex About Shared Expenses

You should discuss sharing expenses with your ex early in the separation process. If you can, sit down with them and figure out a split that works for both of you.

Most judges require divorce agreements to have written plans for splitting expenses. You can reach whatever agreement works for you and your ex. If both of you earn roughly the same amount of money, you can split the expenses 50-50. 

If one of you earns more money than the other, the person who earns more can pay for more expenses. But the other parent should contribute. 

You don’t have to split all expenses. While you have custody of your child, you should pay for food and gifts, not your ex. 

Understand What Child and Spousal Support Covers

If one of you needs support to cover your child’s expenses, the other parent can offer child support. Each state has its own laws for child support. Talk to a lawyer before you figure out how to use child support to pay for the bills. 

In general, child support goes toward essential living expenses. You can use the money to pay for clothing, food, and housing. Child support may not cover health insurance or optional expenses like private school tuition. 

Child support lasts until a child turns 18. If they go to a college or university, they can continue to receive money for their education. This includes certificate and graduate programs.

Spousal support or alimony is separate from child support. It covers one person’s expenses, including housing and food. Once they become independent, they no longer receive spousal support.

You cannot use spousal support to pay for your child’s expenses. There may be some overlap, as paying for your child’s housing often means paying for your housing. But money intended for you must go toward you primarily. 

If you find a new partner, you should not expect them to pay for your child. They can do it if they want to, but they are under no obligation to chip in. Grandparents and other relatives can also chip in, but only if they have the money and desire to do so.

Develop a Schedule

You should first develop a custody schedule so you know when you have physical custody of your child. You should then figure out a payment schedule when you and your co-parent need to cover the bills. You may need to pay for groceries every week and rent every month. 

You should also figure out when you need to pay one-time payments. Your child may need new school supplies in September, or you may need to get them gifts for their birthday.

Once you have your expenses charted out, you and your co-parent should figure out how you will pool your money. You can create a joint bank account and put money into it before you make a major payment.

If you keep your accounts separate, you can record when you make your payments on an app or a chart. Figure out how to manage shared expenses with an app for divorced parents

Keep in Touch With Your Ex

You can follow your plan for managing expenses until your child becomes independent. However, you should remain in touch with your ex to see if your plan is going well.

You can communicate with your ex however you want. You can use an app, social media, or phone conversations.

If you need to talk with them about a major expense, you should have a face-to-face conversation so you can talk in full detail. You can make changes to your shared expenses plan if both of you agree on it. 

Keep your conversations focused on expenses and don’t hash out a topic that doesn’t relate to your child directly. If you want, you can bring someone with you or communicate with your co-parent through an intermediary.

Prepare for Sudden Expenses

You should expect emergencies that you have to pay for. Your child may develop a medical condition that requires treatment, or they may need special education services. 

Develop a plan with your co-parent to cover these unexpected expenses. Most parents split emergency expenses evenly, though you may need to pay more if your child is with you.

You also need to think about what would happen if you or your ex lose your job. The co-parent that still has their job may need to take over the other parent’s expenses while they find work. They may also need to pay temporary support to the unemployed spouse so they can keep their home. 

Start Sharing Your Parenting Expenses

You can figure out shared expenses with your co-parent. Talk to your ex as soon as possible and write a formal plan for how you will split expenses. Keep in mind that child support goes toward expenses specifically for your child. 

Develop a schedule so you know when the money is coming in. Stay in touch with your ex so you can deal with emergencies as soon as they happen. Try to split one-time expenses evenly, but step up if your ex needs support. 

Take advantage of tools for shared expenses. 2houses offers premium co-parenting apps. Get started today.

Effective Money-Saving Tips while Co-Parenting

Money-Saving Tips while coparenting

Parental cohabitation is becoming more common. It’s a great way to reduce child support, save on childcare costs, and maintain a good relationship with your partner.

Raising a child takes a lot of money. When you have two parents contributing, that adds up to thousands of dollars spent each month on diapers, baby food, clothes, and toys. And there’s no guarantee that both parents will take the same approach when it comes to how they raise their kids.

In this article, we will share some money-saving tips and tricks you can use to make the most out of co-parenting. Hopefully, it will help you save some of that cash and have some fun too! When you have two parents who aren’t on the same page, things can get messy. That’s why it’s important to find ways to save money while co-parenting.

Why is it important to have a creative budget when co-parenting?

The most important reason to create a budget is that money management in the long term will result in better financial security for you and your children. You will be able to have a large financial reserve they can use later on.

If you are already in debt, creating a budget is an easy way out of that situation and allows your family to pay for the essential items without blowing all their money on bills.

It will give you a good procedure to follow and focus on your debts, allowing you to know how much money is coming in and where it’s going out.

The growth rate in co-parenting has caused a big burden on many families. The increase of sole custody cases shared parenting plans that are not working out. The lack of good quality daycare options in most communities greatly increases costs for parents who want to raise their children. With all this being said, you can easily see how important your financial resources can become when raising your kids.

15 Effective Money-Saving Tips while Co-Parenting

Here are some money-saving tips to help you maintain a good relationship with your partner while you co-parent.

1. Establish a budget plan with your partner.

Without a proper plan, you are flailing around in the dark when it comes to finances. A budget plan allows both of you to be on the same page about money so that financial and relationship issues won’t arise later on down the road. Working together has benefits for everyone involved. Both of you will be able to work out financial issues in a way that works for everyone.

2. Consider sharing the cost of childcare to save money.

Childcare costs can be a major expense when you have a child. It can be the biggest expense of your entire family budget. If you both work, childcare costs can eat up a large chunk of your monthly budget. It’s important to keep this in mind when you’re thinking about how to save money while co-parenting.

If you both work, you can cut the cost of childcare by finding a way to share its cost and have access to quality childcare. You can also save on childcare costs by sharing the cost of hiring a nanny.

3. Take turns when buying groceries.

It’s great to have a partner who shares the responsibility of buying groceries. But when you’re splitting the groceries, it’s easy to end up with two different food budgets. That can lead to arguments and feelings of resentment.

One way to avoid this is to take turns. The first person to buy groceries should do so for a week. Then, the other person should do the same in the next week.

This works great if you have a budget for groceries and you’re both on the same page about how much you can spend.

4. Cook at home with your partner rather than eating out for every meal.

Many parents take their children out to eat every night for dinner. This can be expensive, especially if you don’t cook for yourself. But cooking at home for every meal can save you a lot of money and time. Not only will you save money, but you can also make sure that you and your child have a healthier diet.

5. Don’t make impulse purchases. Stick to a budget.

It’s easy to spend money when you’re shopping with your child. You might want to buy some new clothes or toys, but make sure that you have a budget in place and check store weekly ads for discounts before you go shopping. If you don’t, you might end up spending a lot of money on things you don’t need.

You don’t want to spend money on something that you don’t need. But, if you do buy something, make sure you don’t spend more than you planned to, especially if you have a joint budget with your partner. It’s harder to track what you have spent if you’re not on the same page.

So, avoid impulse buying. Make a budget and stick to it.

6. Avoid babysitters.

Instead of paying for a sitter, try to arrange your schedules so that you can take turns or together watch the kids. That way, you can make sure that they are getting the attention they need. You can make sure that your child is safe when you’re out of the house besides saving money.

7. Consider selling your old baby gear.

It’s easy to get into the habit of buying baby gear, but you can save money by selling the old ones. You can sell it on eBay, Facebook, or at the local consignment stores.

8. Become a member of your local food co-op.

When you have a baby, you’re probably going to need to buy a lot of baby food. Buying baby food can be expensive. You can save money by becoming a member of your local food co-op and buying a variety of foods that are usually cheaper than the same foods from the grocery store. You’ll also be able to get the food delivered right to your home.

9. Buy food in bulk.

One of the biggest expenses for couples who co-parent is food. This is especially true for couples who travel a lot and try to cut back on costs.

One way to save money on food is to buy it in bulk. If you have a large family, you can buy a large box of cereal, a large jar of peanut butter, and a large bag of carrots. That’s a lot of food for one family, but it will last you for a long time. You can even freeze the food and eat it later.

10. Seek advice from other co-parents.

You don’t have to be alone in the struggle to have a successful family. You can learn a lot from other co-parents.

One way to do this is to find other parents in your area who have children the same age as your child and have the same goals.

You can ask them about how they parent and what they do to make sure their child gets the best start in life.

11. Cut back on your hobbies.

If your child is going to be a movie enthusiast, it might make sense for you to pay for half of their weekly movie tickets. However, if you don’t enjoy watching movies, there’s no point wasting money by purchasing a ticket.

In addition, if one of your hobbies is hiking or reading books on tape, you may find that these activities are not as fun and rewarding. When necessary, you need to compromise to meet other needs like work and child care.

12. Have a garage sale.

One of the best ways to save money is to have a garage sale. You can sell your old baby gear, old clothes, and any other items you don’t need. You can also sell baby items like cribs, strollers, and other paraphernalia. If you don’t have any buyers, you can advertise via Facebook Marketplace or hand-deliver flyers to your local laundromat, daycare centers, and apartment complex hallways.

13. Buy second-hand clothes and toys.

When you have a baby, it’s important to have a lot of baby clothes and toys. Buying new baby clothes and toys can be expensive. You can save money by buying second-hand baby clothes and toys.

If you don’t have the time to go to a second-hand store, you can shop online. You can find tons of websites that sell second-hand clothes and toys. You can also find sites that sell second-hand baby gear.

14. Set up a personal emergency fund.

As a parent, it’s important to have an emergency fund. This will help ease the financial burden if something were to happen, such as losing your job or having car problems.

Depending on your lifestyle, a personal emergency account needs at least three to six months’ worth of living expenses. If your finances are already in poor shape such as debt and wasted money, you might want to start saving immediately. Try saving 5% of every dollar you make until you have a hefty sum saved up before putting too much into accounts with fees, like credit cards that may cause unnecessary expenses if necessary emergencies arise.

15. Have regular financial check-ins with your ex.

Make sure to have regular financial check-ins with your ex. This involves asking your ex to get a current assessment of his or her financial situation. Here, you can discuss the following:

1) Do they have enough saved up money?

As you know well, college tuition is expensive. Your child’s education is a very important investment for their future, and parents should be prudent about the financial resources spent on their children’s education. You both want them to have a great life and be able to get the best education possible.

Therefore, it’s important to set up regular financial check-ins with your ex, so they know not just what they’re spending now but also how much is needed for your child’s education such as college tuition costs.

2) Do they still owe any debts?

If your ex owed some debt before getting back together or if you had to pay some debts during your relationship, the two of you must determine whether any disability was involved. Don’t let emotions get in the way when talking about money with your ex. Do keep in mind there are many

5 Easy Ways for Solo Parents to Save Money after Divorce

Save money after divorce

Being a single parent is stressful even when you don’t have to worry about money and budgeting at all times. In order for your child to thrive, you need to make sure they have all their essential needs covered, which all costs money. From new sneakers to school supplies, every month is its own challenge. Therefore, to get the most out of the little you have, you need to be smart about your spending. Here are some tips for single parents that will help them save money in the long run!

Create a budget for the month

A budget may seem like a waste of time if you’re already struggling to make ends meet. Regardless of your income, though, setting up a budget is critical. When it comes to creating a budget, all you really need is a plan for spending. This way, having a budget allows you to take control of your money rather than just react to events as they occur. Create a budget for the following month after tracking your previous expenses. Include all of your fixed costs, such as rent or mortgage payments, utility bills, and insurance premiums, and set spending restrictions for those areas. You may be left with some leeway. In an ideal world, you’ll be able to save some money immediately, even if it’s only a modest amount.

Be thrifty

Since no one can receive everything for free, staying on top of coupons and top deals is the most one can hope for. If your child hasn’t been brainwashed by big brand marketing yet, look for bargains at your local car boot and charity stores. For deals, you should also visit Facebook’s marketplace and other online second-hand sites. Another way to save money by being thrifty is by using a car share service. You don’t have to spend money on your own gas and you may also meet some new people along the way! Who knows, maybe they’re also single parents who can give you some great advice!

Automate fixed expenses

Single parenthood can be a challenge, particularly when costs keep piling up. Having the essential utilities automatically paid is one method to help you budget. No matter if you have a lot of debt or it’s all paid off, you’re sure to benefit from automated payments. Because you’ll never see the excess money that should go to utilities in your account, you’ll never be able to spend it. This is also a great way to avoid late penalties and not spend time worrying about them. When you’re a single parent, it might be hard to keep up with everything, so even little things can be a great way to alleviate the stress.

Bulk buy for groceries

Saving money as a single parent can be done if you do a huge monthly grocery haul. Bulk buying your food can be a great way to get more for less. Whenever feasible, go with the value store since it’s much cheaper and basically the same thing. Store-brand items can cost you half the price of a brand name. Who wouldn’t be excited about that?! If you’ve been living week to week, bulk purchasing might be a challenge at first, but it becomes simpler as you save more money.

Parenting is a hard ordeal in its own right, but when you have to be thrifty at all times, it can be even tougher. The key thing is to think about your monthly expenses and plan accordingly, taking into account the essential utilities you need to pay. Also, make sure to get free things and bulk buy groceries every chance you get. Buy second-hand as often as you can. If your kid is young, they may not even notice the difference!

How is Child Support Calculated?

Child support

It is the responsibility of both parents to financially support their children. When one parent has physical custody after a divorce, the other parent makes a child support payment to fulfill his or her role as non-custodial parent.

Furthermore, marriage has no bearing on the need to support a child. Any parent, whether married or not, is accountable for his or her child’s financial well-being.

That being said, it would be better and more financially sound for separated couples to settle child custody issues and financial support agreements through a child custody attorney than bring the case to court.

The Impact of Custody Decision on Child Support

The courts rarely intervene in how parents decide to raise or support their children, unless there is neglect or abuse involved.

When a couple gets divorced, one parent is usually granted custody while the other is expected to provide financial support. In the event of a custody dispute or should the custodial parent seek financial assistance, the court may step in and issue orders on what the both parties must do to maintain the well-being of their children.

In most cases, mothers get custody of the children and fathers are usually the ones who pay child support and alimony to fulfill their responsibility as non-custodial parents. However, when they are granted joint custody, the court determines the amount of child support each parent must pay based on the law.

Factors Affecting the Amount of Child Support

Federal law requires each state in the United States to develop criteria for determining and calculating child support. Though the guidelines can vary greatly from state to state, they often rely on the same considerations used for deciding spousal support and child custody, such as:

  • The parents’ individual incomes
  • The amount of time the child spends with each parent
  • The number of children and their ages

The court will also take into account variables like the family’s standard of living before the divorce, the special needs of the child, the resources of the custodial parent, and the non-custodial parent’s ability to pay.

In situations where a child has extraordinary needs, the court may deviate from the standard child support guidelines and decide for the best interest of the child.

How to Calculate Child Support

How much you pay as the non-custodial parent (or how much you receive as the custodial parent) is determined by the formula that your state uses to determine the amount of child support payments.

Again, child support laws differ by state. Each state government employs one of three fundamental models/methods to calculate child support, which are as follows:

1. The Income Shares Model

Most states use the Income Shares Model. In this method, the court considers the combined parental income and the number of minor children to determine what share of their parents’ income the kids would have received if they lived together. This model is founded on the idea that both parents’ incomes were spent to benefit all the members of the household prior to the divorce.

For example; the court determines that the children require $2,000/month and the parents earn a combined annual income of $200,000. If the father earns $120,000/year and the mother makes $40,000/year, the court may order the father to pay $1,200/month and the mother to pay $800/month for child support.

2. The Percentage of Income Model

In states that use the Income Percentage Model, the court calculates child support payments based on a set percentage of the non-custodial parent’s gross or net income and the number of children he/she supports.

The percentage of income can be either flat or varying. In the flat percentage model, fluctuations in the income of the non-custodial parent does not change the percentage of income paid towards child support. The varying percentage model is the opposite. The percentage of income changes as the non-custodial parent’s income changes.

Alaska, Mississippi, Nevada, and Wisconsin use the Flat Percentage Model, while North Dakota and Texas employ the Varying Percentage Model.

3. The Melson Formula

States that use the Melson formula calculate child support payment based on a specific set of parameters known as the “Melson Factors.” Some of the considerations included in this model are the income of both parents, the needs of the child, the standard of living adjustment for the child or SOLA.

The Melson Formula is a variant of the Income Shares Model. Their biggest difference is that the Melson Formula allows for additional child support payment as the income of one of both parents increases.

Delaware, Hawaii, and Montana use the Melson Formula to calculate child support.

How Long Must Parents Pay Child Support

A parent is required to pay child support until the child reaches 18 years of age. However, if the child lives at home and is financially reliant on his or her parents, child support payments may have to continue even after they turn 18.

Parents with 18-year-olds still enrolled in school, for example, may have to support their children until the age of 23. Moreover, a parent with a severely disabled child can be ordered by the court to pay child support for the rest of his or her life.

What Can Happen If A Parent Fails to Pay Child Support

Failure to pay child support can result in serious consequences. Asset seizure and wage garnishment may be imposed on a non-paying parent. And because child support is a court order, a parent who fails to pay it may be held in contempt of court, face jail time, and/or lose his or her driver’s license.

Even a parent who’s unable to work is not excused from paying child support. Missed payments will be accumulated as arrears even if a parent is in jail or the hospital, and these arrears must be paid back when he or she can work again.

Parents who fall behind on child support payments can petition a judge to reduce future child support payments, but this will have no effect on past due child support. Child support is owed until it is paid in full and is not dischargeable even through bankruptcy.

About the Author:

Andrea Williams is the Community Manager at The Law Offices of Alcock & Associates P.C., a premier law group in Arizona that provides legal services to clients involved in Personal Injury, DUI, Immigration and Criminal cases. She enjoys cooking, reading books and playing minigolf with her friends and family in her spare time.

Divorced Parents: Share School-Related Expenses

Divorced Parents Share School-Related Expenses

Money– for most of us, it’s our least favorite thing to talk about. When you’re raising kids as participating co-parents, discussing finances can sometimes feel like pulling teeth.

While the concept of child support eventually becomes a normal part of life for families that are raising children post-divorce, certain times of the year always feel like a heightened challenge. Christmas, birthdays and back-to-school season can really weigh on parents who are trying to decide how to fairly and effectively finance an enriching life for their kids. 

You know what? It doesn’t have to feel that way. 

From open communication to implementing a co-parenting app, shared expenses don’t have to be a messy, uncomfortable thing to manage during the school year. Read on to learn how to effectively handle this component of co-parenting your school-aged child. 

Average Cost of Back-To-School Expenses

The average family spends $272-360 per child during the back-to-school season. One in five families will spend more than that, expecting to contribute over $400 in expenses per child in order to prepare them with the proper supplies and clothes. 

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in additional costs for some families. In order to prepare for online school, some families spent thousands of dollars in order to equip their kids with the right technology

Education-Related Expenses 

Education expenses are any expenses required for your child to be enrolled in or participate in school. These expenses may include but are not limited to: 

  • Uniforms
  • Tuition and fees
  • Transportation costs to and from school 
  • School supplies
  • Books
  • Room and board
  • Tutoring
  • Computers and technology

Families are spending more and more on these items every year, especially as their children get older. It’s important that separated or divorced parents discuss what items are necessary for school, and what are unnecessary expenses. 

Extracurricular Expenses 

If they’re anything like the statistics, your kids are likely excited to get back into their extracurricular activity of choice. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 42%  of school-aged children were involved in sports. 30% of children were involved in some kind of private lessons (like music), and 28 percent were involved in clubs. 

Of these kids, 9% participated in all three types of activities. That makes for a busy (and potentially expensive) school year!

Activity costs may include: 

  • Yearbooks, photos, admission to events
  • Sports physicals 
  • Prom, homecoming, or other dance expenses 
  • Registration fees
  • Sports equipment and uniforms
  • Transportation costs to and from activities 
  • Driver’s education costs 
  • Private music, sport or drama lessons 
  • Student activity fees
  • Instruments

Just as you and your former spouse come to a transportation and custody agreement, it’s important to acknowledge the expenses that come with your children’s favorite pastimes. While wildly beneficial for their health, development, and happiness, 46% of parents report spending more than $1,000 on their kids’ activities every year. If you’re co-parenting, it’s time to talk about how that’s going to be split between households. 

Picking a School

After a divorce, a child may need to change schools to satisfy their new living situation or their parent’s expectations for their education. If you’re like 10% of families in the United States, you may consider private school over public school for your family. This will obviously come at a cost. 

On average,  K-12 schools will cost a family $25,000-$65,000 a year. Will this be sustainable once your incomes are no longer combined? 

When determining what school you will ultimately finance, ask yourself these questions: 

  • Is private school a necessity, or a luxury? 
  • What is in the best interest of your child? 
  • What is each parent able to pay? 
  • Can you make this decision without a mediator? 

If the child is already enrolled in a private school, it may be best to keep them in an environment they are familiar with. At the end of the day, you know what’s best for your child. Have an honest conversation as parents– it may make for an easy decision. 

Post-Secondary Education 

Is your child nearing the age of 18? Parental support may extend beyond childhood. 25 states give courts the authority to order a non-custodial parent to pay some level of college expenses. This kind of child support is called “post-minority” or “post-secondary” support.

Have you already established a college fund? What sort of support will you provide to assist with moving or living expenses? Set aside some time and have a sit-down discussion about what kind of future you are expecting once your child reaches his or her college years.  

Spending Philosophies 

How did it feel to discuss money in your marriage? Were expenses split, or determined by income ratios? While determining a fair child support arrangement, courts will consider the following: 

  • The gross incomes of both parents (includes salary/hourly wages, any commissions, rental income, tips, or bonuses)
  • The typical payroll deductions and available tax deductions for both parents
  • The custody agreement 
  • Each parent’s expected childcare costs

If you’re still working out the specifics, start with considering two very general expense-sharing philosophies. 

50:50 Spending 

Do you feel that it is most fair to split costs 50/50? This is most common for separating parents who earn similar incomes. 

If you can work out a monthly payment agreement, or reimburse one another by 50% immediately, you may be able to avoid any conflict involving delayed payments or anything in direct violation of the child support agreement. 

Income Ratios 

If there is a substantial difference in income, it may be the fairest to agree upon an income-based system. A 70/30 or 60/40 split might be the most reasonable arrangement if you expect to maintain a quality living environment while paying off all other bills and debts. 

Did you experience a high-asset divorce? It may be time to discuss the reality of child support costs and what you can reasonably afford. A divorce is an expensive time for both parties– it’s best to stay compassionate and realistic in what you both expect to earn and contribute. 

Dividing by Line Item 

Would you rather just take turns paying for items and activities? If the two of you have been doing this for a while and know what kind of costs should be anticipated, it might be convenient to split expenses based on specific costs. 

Perhaps one parent covers all extracurricular expenses while another pays for a great first day of school outfit. If one parent is more invested in a sport or activity more than the other, they may feel driven to contribute more than their required share. Talk it out! 

How to Determine Shared Expenses  

Are you looking for some quick methods to implement into your shared expenses? Consider some of these tricks to eliminate friction.  

Tracking Spending 

Tracking spending is a core organizational tactic that many households–separated or not– use to keep their finances in line. By keeping receipts and documenting every single charge, you can ensure that both parties are abiding by the agreed-upon child support directive. This can be done both online (spreadsheets or shared docs are convenient) as well as by collecting and keeping all receipts. 

Expense tracking can also be a great communication or “check-in” tool. Keeping the other parent “in the loop” about what expenses have come up and how they were paid for will help to keep things cordial.  No need for surprises or awkward parking lot payouts if you agree to a regular finance meeting. 

Review Trends

If you’re successfully tracking every expense, it’s easy to look back on last year’s expenses. Once you can anticipate what the expected costs are, it’s much easier to come to an exact agreement that doesn’t leave room for frustrating surprises. Managing expectations is one of the best things you can do for this new kind of relationship. 

Reviewing trends is also a great learning experience for you both. By looking over what money was spent unnecessarily or in excess, the two of you can update what might be expected, or budget a little differently. That’s more money in both of your pockets! 

Put Agreements in Writing 

If you are still working out an arrangement, the court may require you to track all expenses to ensure that they qualify for reimbursement or cost-sharing.

If expenses are something your lawyers are keeping track of, it’s best to record them in accordance with your child support agreement, and make any required payments by the date they are expected. 

Even if your arrangement isn’t required by the court, you may want to consider having your agreement added to the court order in order to hold everyone accountable. If this is done, remember that this agreement may need to be amended as the child gets older, and as their expenses start to evolve. 

Co-Parenting App

Are you always on the go? Are you a tech junkie? Do you prefer having everything in one place so it’s easier to track and share? 

If so, a co-parenting app might be the key to a successful school year. 

A financial management system helps you and your co-parent keep track of child-related expenses in one singular place. Name and categorize each expense so it’s clear what each charge is for. Take pictures of receipts for quick uploads and reimbursements on the go. 

co-parenting app like 2Houses bridges the communication gap between households by releasing a wish list feature to keep your co-parent in the loop of upcoming expenses. You can also send a parent a request to reimburse you for their determined portion of any expenses. No more texting back and forth about money, or using your child as the middleman. 

Once it’s time for tax season, exporting all data into a CSV or PDF will make things easier for you or your accountant. You will never again have to ask for financial documentation from a co-parent in order to complete or file your taxes or see if you qualify for a tax credit. 

Potential Challenges 

The confusing aspect of child support is the lack of guidance or prescribed spending provided by the court. As child support intends to provide for a child’s basic needs, it usually only accounts for: 

  • Housing
  • Food 
  • Clothing

This becomes even more apparent when households are trying to determine where their child will attend school. If parents cannot agree on the type of education their child will receive, it is up to the court to decide. 

The courts will consider the following conditions: 

  • The parents’ respective educational backgrounds
  • The age and grade of the child
  • The current enrollment environment of the child and how long they have attended that particular school
  • How a private school education compares to the quality of education at the public school the child would otherwise attend
  • The financial resources of the parents

These questions certainly don’t have to be answered in court. Bringing these considerations to the table on your own can help you two communicate clearly, and effectively. Communicating with respect, patience, and grace will help you and your former spouse solve the labyrinth that is co-parenting.  

Keep Track of Shared Expenses With One Great Tool

The most important part of keeping a handle on co-parenting expenditures and shared expenses is staying organized. While we can’t promise a completely stress-free school year (read: runny noses, lost textbooks, late mornings), an organized approach that involves splitting costs, methods of payment, deciding what costs are necessary together will keep two co-parents on the same team. 

Is your team looking for the right tool to keep your two houses in order? Start your 14-day trial of 2Houses and discover how the right financial management system can ensure your separate accounts operate in sync. 

Ways to Deal with Your Divorce as a Woman and Manage Finances

Divorce and finances

A divorce is usually harsher financially for any woman. In fact, a divorce means that a woman will have to live with lesser money than she had when married. And at such times, money management can be very difficult.

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, the gender pay gap in American continues to persist. Currently, women earn only 84 Cents for every $1 that a man earns. This also puts women at some disadvantage.

And women can face more financial problems if they’ve to provide for children too.

Therefore, in this article, I will write about ways to deal with your divorce as a woman and manage finances.

Let’s start by learning a bit about divorce rates in USA.

Divorce Rates in USA

If you’re struggling to manage your finances after divorce, you’re not alone. According to law firm Wilkinson & Finkbeiner, the divorce rate for every 1,000 women in America is whopping 16.9 percent. Almost 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce or separation, according to the WF-Law website.

Furthermore, researchers estimate that 41 percent of all first marriages end in divorce or separation. About 60 percent of all second marriages and 73 percent of third marriages also end in divorce. As a matter of fact, the US ranks fourth in the list of countries with highest divorce rates, with the first three positions being taken by Russia, Belarus and Gibraltar.

The website also has some shocking facts. There’s at least one divorce in America every 13 seconds. As a result, over 15 percent of all adult women in USA are divorced.

The lockdowns of 2020, caused by the Covid-19 pandemic saw a surge in domestic violence leading to an increase in divorce rates across America. However, exact statistics are not yet available for this phenomenon. Most of these divorces during the Covid-19 period are mainly on grounds of domestic violence.

The average age for divorces is 30 years while 60 percent of all divorces involve people aged between 25 years and 39 years.

Dealing with Finances After Divorce

These figures clearly indicate that you’re not the only divorcee that could feel stressed, loneliness & financial issues after divorce. At the same time, not every woman suffers financially after divorce. That because they know how to deal with a divorce and manage finances.

Therefore, let’s look at various ways and means you could successfully use to manage finances after divorce.

Make a Financial Plan

As I mention earlier, women can sometimes bear the financial brunt of a divorce. Therefore, the first thing to do is make a superb financial plan for yourself. Calculate all your income, assets and liabilities. Find ways and means by which you can put the money you have in your savings to work and fetch you some income.

Investing on stocks, Mutual Funds, Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), commodities and currencies is an excellent way to grow your money instead of allowing it to lie idle in a savings account. These financial instruments offer high returns over a period of time. However, you need to stay invested for long to make tangible and significant returns.

Find Side Gigs

Bridging the gap between your income as a divorcee and what you had while married isn’t always easy. Therefore, a side gig could help you overcome any shortfalls in money. There’re countless side-gigs that’re available for women. In fact, you can do a lot of them from the comfort of your house.

A side-gig not only gives you enough money but it also keeps you away from financial and other stress as well as loneliness to some degree. Its worth knowing that lots of Americans suffer from anxiety over money. And such anxiety affects divorced women fiercely. You can prevent anxiety over your financial condition by taking a side-gig or a part-time job that keeps you gainfully employed.

Think About Retirement Plans

One thing that most divorced women ignore is retirement plans. As a married couple, you might have had some plans for those golden years. However, the situation changes drastically after a divorce and you’re left to fend for yourself. Therefore, don’t ignore retirement plans. Studies across the US reveal a shocking fact: that more than 90 percent of Americans don’t have sufficient money to retire.

Surely, you wouldn’t want to be caught in this trap after divorce. Therefore, consider how and where you wish to retire, the amount of money you’ll require during those years and start planning for them right away. You could invest on annuities that would offer enough payouts when you retire. That way, you’re keeping away poverty in those golden years when you’ll be no longer working and having an active income.

Use Investment Apps

Understandably, you might not have much money from the divorce settlement and your own job. However, that’s no reason why you can’t start investing on stocks and commodities markets. Nowadays, there’re as many as five superb apps that allow you to start an investment journey with as little as $5 only. These apps include Robin Hood, Acorns, TD Ameritrade and others. You can download these apps on your smartphones for free and start investing.

You needn’t start by investing huge amounts of money if that’s not possible. Even a sum of $5 would be adequate. These apps allow you to invest in fractional shares and fractional ETFs. That means, instead of getting one full share of a company, you get a fraction worth the money you invest. And when you keep buying such fractions over a period of time, they add up to one share. This is an excellent way for any woman who’s divorced to start her investment journey.

Rework Your Health Plan

As a married couple, you might have had a health plan for the family. However, after divorce, this isn’t possible. Therefore, get your divorce attorney to rework the health plan with the insurer. And if that too is impossible, go for an altogether new health plan that suits your needs. All of us are aware that healthcare in America is very expensive. And without a good health insurance, you would have to bear these expenses from your purse.

There’re several excellent health insurances or Mediclaim plans available from various insurance firms. Consider all options before buying one. The best thing to do is shop around and find the best rates. Some insurance firms lower the premiums if you’re going for home insurance, health insurance and vehicle insurance from them. A combined plan costs lower than individual ones.

Build Your Credit

A divorce can leave your credit score in shambles. That’s not always the case, but sometimes you might be left with poor credit scores due to debts and other credit taken during your married days. Therefore, the best thing to do in such a situation is to look at how you could build your credit score once again.

There’re several ways and means to build a healthy credit score. One of these is to expedite the payment of your credit card dues. That’s because credit cards come with a stiff Annual Purchase Rate. And the longer you don’t pay the full dues, the APR keeps adding.

Having a credit card itself is good to build a credit score. However, it requires you to pay all outstanding dues on time and ensure that ARP doesn’t build up and boom beyond your control.

Shun Expensive or Large Purchases

Expensive or large purchases can throw your finances in a tailspin. Therefore, avoid these at all costs. Literally. Often, women go on shopping binges to overcome the loneliness and sorrow that accompanies a divorce. And this occurs even if you’ve been through a turbulent relationship with a partner.

Here, it’s worth remembering that they money you get as settlement or child maintenance could be one-off and hence, you need to utilize it properly. Therefore, I will again emphasize on the need to invest your money wisely on wealth building plans and retirement plans. The more you save and invest now, the more financial security you would enjoy in the future.

Get Financial Advisor

I’m aware that financial advisors don’t come cheap. However, if you’re unsure about what to do with your money and require some good financial planning advise, I recommend you consult a good financial advisor. They’re qualified to help you plan your finances for the future. Though you’ll spend a few Dollars for availing their services, it would prove to be a worthwhile investment.

A financial advisor usually has ties with banks, investment and insurance firms. Therefore, they’re aware of various plans and schemes that’re available in the market. This puts them in an ideal position to guide you on where to put your money and how much to invest on different plans to get high returns. For any divorcee, this advice can make a lot of difference in their financial life after divorce.

In Conclusion

As you can see from the above steps, managing finances for women after divorce isn’t all that difficult. The first thing you need to do is take hold of your finances and work towards securing a happier and better future for self and children if any, after divorce. Before concluding, I will add that a financial advisor can actually help you realize your financial goals. Hence, you can use their services safely, despite the cost. And if you wish, some banks and financial companies also provide robo-advisors for smaller investors to make the best of their finances. A divorce isn’t the end of the world for anyone, including you. It’s possible to get hold of your finances and live happily once again.

Shared expenses: How to keep It Simple

Shared expenses

Children are expensive; there’s no denying that fact. And one of the major challenges of coparenting can be keeping track of all of the miscellaneous expenses that are involved and making sure that you are able to share that information with the other parent and make sure everything gets paid. If you’re confused on what expenses are considered shared expenses, aren’t sure when or how you need to notify the other parent of an expense, or are having trouble keeping track of everything, we’ve got the answers and some tools to help.

Types of Shared Expenses

When you’re trying to figure out what expenses are considered shared expenses, the first thing to do is to consult your custody agreement. How shared expenses are supposed to be handled is usually listed in those documents. A few of the most common types of shared expenses are covered below:

  • Medical expenses: Medical expenses are the most common type of shared expense in a copareting situation, and this is one that is almost always listed in either the custody agreement or the child support documents. In many cases, these expenses are split 50/50, but if there is a large income disparity the order may specify a different percentage, such as 80/20. These expenses are usually paid for by the primary residential parent, and then, the other parent has to reimburse the residential parent for their portion.
  • Dental expenses: These are sometimes covered under the umbrella of medical expenses, but certain dental expenses such as orthodontia are handled separately.
  • Extracurriculars: Things like gymnastics lessons, summer camp, school sports fees, and sports uniform costs all fall under the extracurricular umbrella. Extracurriculars are usually not specifically mentioned in court documents and are addressed via agreement by the two parents. In some cases, this may mean reimbursing one parent, but sometimes, both parents are able to just pay their portion directly to the provider.
  • Private school tuition: If the children are already attending a private school before the divorce, this will likely be included in the custody documents as to how the expense will be paid for in the future. If you decide to put your children in private school after the divorce, it’s a good idea to put how the expense will be divided added into the official paperwork because this is usually tens of thousands of dollars over the course of their education.
  • School supplies, clothes, and other miscellaneous expenses: These smaller expenses are ones that parents often don’t think about when going through the divorce process, but they can add up over time. Most of these expenses will be ones that you work out an agreement on who will pay what or what portion with the other parent.

In general, only things that are specifically listed in your custody documents as shared expenses will qualify in a court setting. You may still be able to agree with the other parent that you will split some things, but if they change their minds or don’t pay you back for something, it’s generally not enforceable in court unless it’s an expense covered in the order.

Guidelines for Notifying the Other Parent

In a coparenting situation, there are often times when only one parent is present for a situation that creates an expense. For example, if the residential parent has to take the child to urgent care for an illness, the other parent may not be able to be present and will need to be notified after the fact. How and when you need to notify the other parent of shared expenses might be outlined in your court documents, but if not, here are some possible options:

  • Immediate: If you have a very good coparenting relationship with easy communication and agreement, it may make the most sense to just immediately let the other parent know about an expense so they can reimburse you or pay their part directly as soon as possible. However, this can create a lot of back and forth, especially in the case of multiple children.
  • Monthly: Some parents prefer to cover expenses on a monthly basis. They may meet to present receipts and reconcile who owes who what after everything is calculated for the month. This also may make it easier for both parents to pay their parts of extracurricular fees or classes directly to the provider when the monthly bill is due.
  • Quarterly: If you don’t have great communication with the other parent and have the finances to be able to wait for reimbursement, a quarterly settlement may be a good option. You can either submit expenses as they come in or all at once at the end of the quarter, and then, the other parent usually has a certain amount of time to repay.

Another thing to consider when thinking about how and when to notify the other parent is how to present receipts. It’s generally best to submit photocopies of detailed receipts that include which child the expense was for, how much it was, who it was paid to and the date. This ensures that the other parent has everything they need to repay you or to pay the provider directly, and it also ensures you have documentation of the expense if you need to present it to the courts.

Simplifying Shared Expenses

Once you know what expenses you should be sharing with the other parent and how often you’re going to be dealing with receipts and reimbursements, it’s time to work on your method. While physical copies and checks can give you a paper trail, it’s also hard to keep track of everything and know what has been paid and what hasn’t at a glance. This is where a tool like 2houses comes in.

2houses’ finance tool was designed to give you all of the information you need in an easy-to-read manner, and it lets you handle everything from reimbursement requests to payments all within the app. It also has a variety of reporting tools either parent can use to break down expenses by things like category or time period. Here are just a few of the ways using a coparenting app like 2houses can help:

  • At-a-glance balance management: The app is set up so that you can see a balance summary at any time. This makes it easy for either parent to always know what’s been paid and what’s outstanding without having to go back and forth with the other parent.
  • In-app payments: 2houses has the capability for payments to be made in the app. This ensures that the balance is always correct and you don’t have to update anything when payments come in, and it also provides a record of payment if needed.
  • Wishlist feature: If you and the other parent are splitting expenses like birthday gifts or new clothes, the wishlist feature makes it easy to suggest what your child might want or need. This also comes in handy for the other parent’s side of the family if they need gift ideas or suggestions.
  • The ability to categorize expenses: You can tag expenses to be within certain categories, so it’s immediately clear what the money was spent for. This can also help you budget moving forward for recurring expenses. For example, if you are able to see that you usually have about $1,000 in medical expenses per child per year, this makes it easier for both parents to be able to see that and budget for their portion.
  • Exporting capabilities: While it can be helpful to have everything online where you can access it from any device, there may be times when you need paper copies. An example of this is when you need to show the courts or the child support enforcement agency proof of expenses. 2houses lets you do both CSV and PDF exports for flexibility.

Whether you’re just starting your coparenting journey and trying to make it as easy as possible or are trying to streamline expenses and communication after a few years, 2houses’ coparenting app and finance tracker can help. The key to successful coparenting is open and frequent communication, but being able to access everything with just a few clicks makes a big difference in ensuring that expenses are reported and reimbursed quickly.

Kids & Divorce: Who Pays For Summer Camp?

Who Pays For Summer Camp

39% of all marriages end in divorce. While it might not seem like a huge deal when it comes to the separation of marital assets.

There is one area that can make separation quite challenging. It can become tricky when it comes to kids & divorce because several factors need to be considered, especially in terms of summer camp cost.

We’ve created a comprehensive guide that’s going to help you navigate the summer between yourself and your former partner.

Summertime Madness

It’s summertime, and children will be spending the hours they normally spend in school at home. But, if you’re a parent who still has work obligations, you might be considering ways for your child to spend their time constructively.

All of a sudden, the idea of sending your child to summer camp comes to mind. But, there’s something else that you’ve got to think about, and that’s consulting with your former spouse about who will cover summer camp costs.

Who’s paying for summer camp? Should it be written into your custodial agreement?

We’re here to make things simpler and help you continue to have an effective and smooth co-parenting relationship. After all, it’s summer, a time to enjoy the sunshine and freedom.

Here are some things that need to be defined before you can begin to think about summer camp costs.

Your Child’s Summer Schedule

Although it’s summer, your child will still need to follow the custody schedule that was agreed upon and is legally binding. This means spending time with both parents throughout the summer.

The first thing you need to do is create a schedule for your child’s summer plans before they begin. In this schedule document, the beginning and end of each camp your child wants to participate in.

Under these camps, fill in which parent the child will be with according to your schedule underneath. You want to do this because it gives your child and both parents a visual representation of where the child will be and which parent they will be with.

This will also reduce anxiety or nervousness when it’s time for camp and serves as a reminder for both parents. If your children are young, it can help them remember what is to come during that week and helps to establish a routine, reducing the confusion they feel moving between homes.

Who Will Cover the Cost?

The next thing that you need to discuss is the cost of summer camp. The first thing you need to do is check your legal custody agreement and review it to see if it mentions summer activities as a part of the cost of custody.

In most places, the only way to determine who will foot the cost of summer camp will depend on the law in your state and area. 

If there isn’t an area in your agreement that details who will pay for your child to attend summer camp, it needs to be discussed between you and your former partner. It would help if you discussed what the cost of the following would be:

  • Summer camp
  • Summer activities
  • Summer trips

Depending on the custodial agreement in place, you might have to edit the number of camps and trips your child takes to ensure that the funds to afford them are in place. Also, if you and your former spouse cannot cover the cost of camp, we recommend checking out financial aid.

Several camps allow children to attend on financial aid scholarships when their parents cannot pay the full cost of camp. You’ve got to create a plan that will help the summer go as smoothly as possible.Creating Your Plan

When you’re creating your plan, one thing that you don’t want to do is involve your child in the discussion. The reason you want to avoid this is if you and your former spouse begin arguing about potential plans, it can cause your child anxiety and unease.

Your child should have an opinion about which camps and trips they take, but they don’t need to be a part of the detailed planning of their summer schedule, especially when you’re discussing the finance side of things.

Another thing you don’t want to do when creating your child’s summer plans is let other issues that you’ve got in your co-parenting relationship interfere. Remain focused on what you’re attempting to accomplish and work on other issues in your relationship at a later time.

In the end, you want to ensure that both of you come to an agreement that will satisfy your needs and ensure that your child will be able to have the summer that they’ve been looking forward to.

Necessity or Non-Necessity?

We understand that you still might be wondering who’s going to pay for child support? We mentioned earlier that depending on where you live, it could already be written into your custodial agreement.

That’s where the terms necessity and non-necessity come into play. Some states classify summer camp as a necessity, and if you’re in one of these areas, it will already be written into your child support agreement.

The cost paid for the camp could be based on the type of camp where they will be going for the summer. If your divorce hasn’t been finalized, you must have your attorney include summer camp in the agreement.

It’s not always easy to have the parent who doesn’t have sole custody of the child pitch in for activities that they don’t think are necessary. It’s beneficial if you prove that your child attending summer camp is a form of daycare that allows you to continue working to make money to care for your child.

Non-Necessity

While there are states that deem summer camp as a necessity, some consider it a non-necessity. If your area doesn’t see summer camp as a non-necessity, the cost of the camp will need to be considered extracurricular summer activities.

In this case, the cost of summer camp isn’t going to be written into your child custody agreement because it’s not a necessity for your child. This means that the non-custodial parent has no legal obligation to help pay for your child to attend summer camp.

Although it’s not written into your agreement because this is a form of daycare that will ensure the child(ren) are being looked after, the judge may still require the non-custodial parent to help pay for summer camp.

The reason for this is that it’s in the child’s best interest. Now that we’ve given you some background information on who will cover the cost of summer camp, there’s still more that we need to share with you.

How to Choose a Summer Camp?

After you’ve sat down and discussed who will cover the cost of your child attending summer camp, the next step is deciding where your child will go camping. Again, depending on your agreement, one parent might have more say than the other, but you want to ensure that both agree, or things could get messy.

There are several factors to consider before you both come to a decision on which summer camp will be the best for your child. Keep in mind, wherever your child goes camping, you want them to have a great time and enjoy themselves.

Summer Camp Goals

The first thing you need to think about is what are your expectations for the camp that your child will be attending. Do you want them to attend camp because you want them to have the experience of interacting with other children their age?

Or are you hoping that your child will continue to broaden their intelligence through specific summer camp activities provided by the camp you send them to? Setting your expectations will narrow down the list of summer camp options your child has to choose from.

Camp Types

If the purpose of your child attending summer camp is daycare-based because you’ve got to work during the day, think about this when choosing the type of summer camp they’ll attend. There is a day camp where your child will attend for a couple of hours a day and then be picked up by their legal guardian.

If you’re working from home and need to keep your child preoccupied constructively, we recommend looking into virtual summer camps. Virtual summer camps are offered online due to the current COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to control the outbreak of the virus during the summer.

A virtual summer camp might require you purchase some items for your home that can be used while your child is online. The last camp you might consider for your child is an overnight camp.

Overnight camps last a couple of days or weeks, depending on the age of your child. This is better for older children and can handle being away from their parents for longer periods.

But, again, no matter what camp your child is being sent to, you and your former partner must agree on where they’re being sent. As well as what type of camp it is.

Camp Genres

Yes, you read that right you need to consider the genre of the camp. Tons of camps specialize in specific things. If you’re sending your child to a traditional camp, they’ll have the typical experience.

They’ll spend time singing around the campfire and engaging in several outdoor activities with other kids their age. If you wish for your child to continue learning and not forget what they were taught in school, you’ll need to find a camp that focuses on providing academic services.

If your child has special needs, the camp you sign them up for should be equipped to handle their needs. Is the environment provided conducive to improving their mental and physical state while ensuring that they have the time of their lives?

Think About the Instructors

The instructors at the camp are just as important as the camp that you send your child(ren) to. Find a camp whose instructors are invested in ensuring that your child has fun at summer camp every time they are there.

A good camp instructor should be someone that enjoys working with children and has a passion for helping them thrive in any situation. If you’re not sure how to determine if the instructors at a camp will be the right fit for your child, check out the camp’s website.

Most camps will typically have an area where you can review the instructors and learn a bit more about them before signing your child up for camp.

Set a Budget

One of the largest things to think about is how much it’ll cost for your child to attend summer camp. If funds are tight between parents, it’s ideal to find a camp that won’t put a huge dent in your pocket while still providing your child what they need.

Both parents should be open and honest about what they can afford to put towards summer camp if it’s not listed in your child custody agreement.

Kids & Divorce: Sweet Summertime

Summertime is a common topic when it comes to kids & divorce. Which parent will be responsible for covering the cost of summer camp?

Which summer camp will your child attend, and for how long? We’ve provided you the answers you’ve been searching for above.

If you need help managing your child’s schedule over the summer, don’t waste any more time and get started by contacting 2houses. It’ll make it easier for both parents to stay on top of their children’s schedule and input information where changes need to be made.

What are Legally Shared Expenses for Children After a Divorce

Legally Shared Expenses

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.

Expense Disputes

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.

How to Share Expenses for Kids After a Divorce

Shared expenses for kids

Children cost a lot of money. The average middle-income household should expect to spend more than $230,000 on raising their child. That’s around $13,000 per year. 

After a divorce, covering expenses for kids gets tricky. The expenses cost the same amount, but the means of paying for them can be difficult to determine. 

How can you start a dialogue with your ex about covering them? How should you take care of your own finances? What expenses should you be mindful of, and how do they change over time? 

Answer these questions, and you can support your child into their adulthood. Here is your quick guide. 

Talk to Your Co-Parent About Expenses for Kids 

Talking about money can be exhausting. Make sure you take a break after you separate from your ex. Take a few weeks to rebuild your confidence so you can negotiate on a strong footing. 

When you feel rejuvenated, you can turn to your finances. Go to a financial advisor and accountant and talk about sharing expenses with your ex.

Get a list of the expenses you should expect to cover. Figure out the ways that you are going to cover your payments on your end. 

Then turn to your ex. You can talk to them by yourself, through an intermediary, or with lawyers. But you should engage with them about your mutual expenses. 

Tell them what things you need to cover and how you will cover them. This can encourage your ex to think about the ways they will pay. This also establishes trust so you can continue the conversation. 

Most co-parents split the expenses 50-50. If you both have similar amounts of money, you can do this. 

But you are not required to. If one co-parent earns more than the other, they can pay for more. 

You can match the payments to your custody schedule. If you pursue an 80/20 custody schedule, the parent with primary custody can pay 80 percent of the expenses.

If you decide on an inequal payment approach, you should not tell your child about your decision. It can lead them to believe that the parent who is paying less does not love them. 

Keep the conversation focused on expenses for your kids. Talk about alimony and living arrangements on another occasion. 

Your conversation can touch upon child support. If a court is requiring one co-parent to pay, talk about where the money should go. 

Develop a Communication System 

When you have decided on a payment approach, you next need to come up with a schedule. Figure out when you need to pay for things, including yearly. 

It would be best if you gave each other reminders on when payments are due. If one of you cannot expect to cover something, you should tell the other that. 

Whenever possible, the two of you should talk face to face. This makes for a direct line of communication that avoids confusion. 

If the two of you are living far apart, you can talk over the phone. Try to avoid text messages or emails unless you are sending over documents. 

You can download a co-parenting app. The app has a calendar that you can schedule your payments with. You can also track your finances, including when shared expenses are pending. 

Take Care of Your Finances

You have your own expenses to cover. After a divorce, you may need to pay more money than you did previously. You may need to cover the cost of a new house and food. 

Make sure you are taking care of yourself. If you run out of money, you won’t be able to pay for your child.

Write down a personal budget that itemizes each cost you need to pay for. Look at what revenue streams you have and see where the money should go first. If you are spending money on something useless, you should stop. 

When you have multiple debts, develop a way to pay them off. You can adopt the debt avalanche method. This involves making minimum payments on your debts and throwing extra money on the ones with high interest. 

Consider starting an expense fund. Each of you can add a little money into it each week. This gives you a safety net that lets you pay for sudden costs. 

Figure out what you will use the fund for. You can cover a regular expense in addition to an unexpected one. You can open one with your ex or on your own.

You may decide to move in with someone else. Your new partner can cover some of your personal expenses.

But you should be the one to pay for your child. It is your responsibility to make sure your child’s needs are met.

Your new partner can pay if they want to, but you should not expect them to do so. They should not expect anything in return for their payments. 

How to Cover Shared Expenses

The more you break down your individual expenses, the easier it will be to cover them. Each type of expense has its own trajectory. Some cost more through time, while others are stable.

Keep in mind that any discussion of expenses involves hypothetical estimates. You have to track how your finances are doing in real-time and adjust your payment approach. 

Housing 

29 percent of the money you spend on your child will go toward housing. This makes it the single-biggest shared expense. 

How you compensate for housing depends on what your living arrangements are. If one of you owns a house with a mortgage, the owner should take the lead in covering the mortgage. The other parent can pay if interest rates are substantial. 

If both of you pay weekly rent, each of you can focus on your own rent payments. You can help your ex when they need a little help. You should step in if they are facing foreclosure. 

Your child should have their own bed wherever they live. If possible, they should have their own bedroom in both residences.

This means that you may have to buy things for it like a drawer or nightstand. If that is the case, you should expect to pay for those yourself.

Medical Expenses

Both of you should pay equal amounts to your child’s health insurance. Their insurance should cover most costs, including doctor’s visits. 

No insurance plan is comprehensive. Have a conversation with your ex about how you will pay for additional medical services. 

You must develop a plan for this well in advance. Your child can develop a medical condition without warning. Set money aside in your personal or expense account. 

If your child has a chronic health condition, you should expect to pay more. Adjust your personal budget, so you spend less on yourself. If they have a condition that might deteriorate, talk about ways you can cover future costs. 

Medical expenses include mental health expenses. If your child needs psychological therapy, both of you should contribute toward it. 

Food 

You should pay for your child’s food while they are living with you. If you and your co-parent are sharing a meal with your child, you can contribute equal amounts. 

There are ways you can keep your expenses down. Plan your meals out in advance. Find a day during the week where you can shop and purchase your food at once. 

Cook meals with inexpensive ingredients like fresh produce and beans. This will save you money and create healthy meals.  

You can use coupons or go to the store during a sale. But coupons and sales are often for processed and unhealthy foods. Pick your sales, so you create healthy meals for your child. 

Try to avoid ordering takeout. Takeout may be more convenient than cooking meals, but it is also more expensive when you do order it, select dishes that you can make multiple meals out of. 

School Supplies 

Your child will need new supplies at the start of every school year. This includes notebooks, binders, and paper. 

As your child gets older, you may need to pay for textbooks. These can be expensive. 

Both of you should pay for supplies. Save up a little extra money as you reach the end of the summer. Go to stores like Staples that run back-to-school sales. 

You can reuse most supplies, including binders. Tell your child to preserve them with duct tape as the school year goes on. 

College Tuition 

The average four-year public college costs $56,840. Keep in mind that this is the expense of college right now. Tuition costs have grown through time, so you may need to pay more when your child turns 18. 

If you have not started saving money, you should start doing so right now. You may need to find an additional revenue stream to cover tuition expenses. 

If you have started saving money, keep doing so. You should not stop during or after the divorce process. 

As your child approaches college, you can start examining financial aid programs. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid lets students with separated parents apply for financial aid.

The application includes a section about one parent’s finances. Listing the co-parent who makes less money increases your child’s chances of getting aid. 

When your child picks a school, they should also apply for financial aid there. Most schools take into account the disposable income of co-parents. If two co-parents have to pay for their own costs, the school will give more financial aid. 

Clothes 

Clothes are a substantial expense because children grow so rapidly. A child should have a week’s worth of clothes at any given time. They should have seven bottoms and tops.

Get clothes made from sturdy materials. Blue jeans resist wear and tear. Sweatpants are thick and breathable, letting your child run around without breaking the material. 

They should also have at least seven pairs of undergarments. It may be a good idea to buy more in case your child has an emergency. They should have a good pair of shoes. 

Little children often put holes in their clothes. When that happens, try sewing the hole closed or patching it up. 

Young children do not need formal wear. A shirt and pants with neutral colors suffice for an event like a wedding. If you do want to get them formal clothes, you can find cheap versions from online retailers. 

Communicate with your ex when you think your child needs a new set of clothes. Buy clothes whenever one of you feels it is warranted. Both of you should contribute. 

Recreational Activities and Vacations 

Your child may go to summer camp, which can cost thousands of dollars per year. As they get older, they may participate in hobbies and extracurricular activities with registration fees. 

For the time being, try to pay equal amounts for your child’s recreation. If one of you becomes involved in an activity they do, that person can take the lead on paying for it. 

The parent conducting a vacation should pay for it. It is unreasonable to expect the other parent to pay for something that they are not participating in. 

Provide the Best For Your Child 

You and your co-parent can cover expenses for kids. Once you are ready, take a look at your financial picture. Talk to your co-parent and develop a plan with a payment schedule.

Make sure you are financially healthy. Pay off your debts using a particular scheme and find additional revenue streams. 

Housing, healthcare, food, and school supplies are immediate problems. Save up money and contribute equal amounts. Be prepared to spend money on college tuition, clothes, and recreation. 

Divorce does not have to be disruptive. 2Houses supplies co-parents with essential information. Read our guide on long-distance parenting