Divorce involves many decisions, including who will take the kids full-time. Chances are the kids will spend time with both of you at some point. Even if they don’t, both parents must cover their expenses. How do you share responsibility and save money at the same time?
Check out our tips below.
Create a Co-Parenting Budget
You’ve heard of an individual budget or a family budget, what about a co-parenting budget? Sharing expenses with your ex doesn’t mean you can’t budget. Work together to create a plan that works for both of you.
Create a list of shared expenses. Think of everything from childcare to medical care and school tuition. Every expense you share, write it down. Next, figure out how much each of you will contribute to the expense. Is it a 50/50 split or do you have another arrangement? Use your custody agreement as a guide.
Now, look at the budget together. If you don’t get along with your ex, look at them when you’re alone. Do you agree with all the expenses? Should any of the expenses fall on your ex’s shoulders alone? Do you agree with the numbers for each expense?
Together, work through the budget. If you don’t get along, consider using a mediator. Go through the list, crossing off items you agree you don’t need and adding items you missed. Have patience as you work through this together.
Find Ways to Save
Once you know the expenses, figure out ways you can lower them. For example, daycare can get expensive. Is either of your parents willing to watch the kids a few days a week? Even one day will lower your daycare bill.
Other expenses you may lower include:
- School tuition – If your children attend private school, consider going back into the public school system.
- Clothing – Shop sales, buy clothes at the end of the season, or use coupons
- Memberships and activities – Set a limit to the number of activities allowed. Discuss it with your ex and agree on a number.
- Insurance – Evaluate both insurance plans (if you both work). Who has a lower co-pay, deductible, and premiums? Which insurance plan covers the doctors your children see?
- Taxes – Determine which spouse will save the most claiming the kids as dependents. Sometimes the answer is clear. If not, alternate each year to keep it fair.
Use Co-Parenting Budgeting Apps
Sometimes limiting conversation between you and your ex is best. Set up a co-parenting budgeting app to limit the conversation. Apps like Smart Coparent and Co-parently make it easy to set budgets, send payments, and even share documents.
Co-parenting doesn’t have to be hard. Work together on a budget so both of you feel comfortable financially. Adding financial strain or pushing one parent beyond his/her limits only adds stress to the situation. Work together, create a budget, and remain flexible. Make changes as necessary and learn how to keep the peace for the children if nothing else.