When parents decide to end their relationship or marriage, the central issue becomes how to work together to raise their children, even though they no longer live together.
Divvying up parental responsibilities can be a challenging task, but a well-thought-out plan is essential for the well-being of everyone, especially your children.
Get on the same page
Good communication is critical for co-parenting and can help both households save money. While your divorce decree spells out who is responsible for basic living expenses, there are many other costs you will likely need to share. To get started:
- Set expectations: Talk to each other and tell your ex what you can afford and what you expect from them. Doing this as soon as possible helps avoid misunderstandings later.
- Establish boundaries: Set limits for what is appropriate to discuss and what isn’t. You may be willing to talk about a child’s private tuition but avoid details over your income and personal savings.
- Pick your fights carefully: It is unlikely you will see eye to eye on everything. For issues you can’t agree on, consider whether it’s worth a battle or better to move on and focus on what’s most important.
Create a co-parenting budget
Come up with a detailed list of expenses, whether you plan to absorb some costs, or share them with your ex-partner. Include items such as:
- Day care or after-school care
- Babysitting expenses
- School extracurricular activities, such as sports, music, art classes
- Medical care and co-pays
- Private tuition
- Birthday and holiday gifts
- Contributions to college savings accounts
Having a clear plan saves money and lessens stress
Parents who cooperate after divorce often find other ways to help each other out. Many times, having relatives on both sides willing to babysit can help save money. And spouses can choose which parent’s health insurance plan is the most affordable to include their kids.
Others are considerate on their tax filings, such as when it makes sense to alternate claiming your kids as dependents, or whether it’s better for one parent to claim them every year. An experienced family law attorney here in Ohio can help you weigh these considerations in the best interests of you and your kids.