When a marriage ends, and children are involved, ex-spouses must adapt and learn how to divide up their parenting responsibilities. Co-parenting can be challenging from an emotional as well as a financial perspective.
In most cases, the breakup of a marriage results in two new households with each former partner having to survive on half or less than half of the income they counted on before. While raising children can be expensive, parents can devise a plan to save on many of the small and substantial costs.
Create a co-parenting budget
When forming a plan, communication will be the key for parents, especially when it comes to money. Both parents should agree beforehand to be honest about their expectations, establish boundaries and choose their battles wisely. A co-parenting budget should include shared expenses, such as:
- Health and dental care
- Daycare and after-school care
- Babysitting costs
- Private school tuition
- School activities such as field trips and camps
- Extracurricular activities such as sports, music and art classes
- Birthday and holiday gifts
Decide how costs will be divided
Everyday expenses, such as food and housing will need to be addressed as well. Depending upon their income, parents may conclude a 50-50 split is fair if their paychecks are similar, while others may determine a 60-40 arrangement is a better fit for their budgets.
Parents should also think about long-term costs like college and paying for a child’s first car. An experienced family law attorney here in California can help parents devise a co-parenting plan, outlining the potential costs and helping parents provide the best possible future for their children.