There are many reasons why couples divorce, but money and finances are a common theme for divorces in every tax bracket. As they navigate the divorce process, there are many essential details to consider. None are more important than parents drafting a fair and equitable parenting plan that outlines scheduling for the average week as well as decision-making power for various aspects of parenting affecting a child.
There is also the financial component to co-parenting that needs to be addressed through child support. This outlines parents’ essential financial obligations like living expenses, health care, extracurricular activities, and possibly even saving for the children’s college fund. Moreover, parents can also work together to avoid wasteful spending on large and small expenses.
Communication is key
This applies to every aspect of co-parenting, but co-parents can discuss how financial matters are to be handled. Tips for starting a positive conversation include:
- Set expectations: Do this as early as possible so that it does not lead to later misunderstandings.
- Define boundaries: Discussing how to pay for tuition may be acceptable, but making comments about personal savings, major purchases, or income may not be okay.
- Choose battles carefully: Co-parents will not always agree, but sometimes it is best to let some things go until there is truly an issue that is worth serious discussion, such as a budget for a teenager’s car or an expensive travel opportunity.
Collaborate on a co-parent budget
This will likely intersect with the child support obligations but have a written-out plan about how much the family will spend and where. It can lead to better strategies for how to best spend money. While dividing up bulk items may be too much, sensible ways to do this include:
- Structuring visitation that considers when prearranged daycare is available, or when grandparents or others can provide free childcare.
- Find ways to minimize travel between homes, which saves on time, time away from works and gas
- Review healthcare policies to make sure that a plan covers everything needed while also being the more cost-effective if there are two available employer’s policies
- Discuss who claims the children on their tax returns and how any savings can be utilized
- Take advantage of savings clubs and memberships
Finding solutions together
A couple should start this conversation as they establish a fair and workable parenting plan. It can then be finalized and put in writing using mediation or litigation with help from an experienced Board-certified Family Law expert attorney in Collin County, Dallas County, Denton County or elsewhere throughout Texas. These legal experts can help address the needs and best interests of the child with an eye toward avoiding wasteful spending or missed opportunities to save money.