If you discuss these things early and "define the rules," both parents will be able to significantly reduce the conflict associated with co-parenting and sharing expenses.
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Money and communication are often the number one causes of divorce, but for parents raising children apart, they get to communicate about money after their divorce for years to come. While many will say the Child Support Agreement is the least complicated part of the divorce process, it's actually the very piece of the puzzle that can come back to haunt separated parents if they don't plan accordingly.
Here are some questions you should be discussing up front, not months or years later when the situation arises.
- Who pays for the insurance? Do you split it or is one parent responsible?
- Who pays for the co-payments?
- Prescriptions: Is that a shared expense?
- An emergency surgery: How will that be paid for?
- Braces, eyeglasses or other medical "devices": How will those be determined? Who will pay?
- Is there a maximum amount you will pay before the other parent needs to get your approval?
- Does the child have to go to in-network doctors? What if they are taken out of network? Who is responsible for the bill?
- How will child care be divided?
- What about during spring or summer breaks?
- What happens if the child gets sick? Will you split the cost of babysitter so both parents can go to work?
- Summer camps: Do you share these expenses? What is a reasonable amount to spend on the camp?
- Public school? or private school?
- School clothes
- Textbooks and supplies?
- School trips, sports or extra activities: How will they be divided?
- Is there a maximum either parent is allowed to spend before having to get the other parent's permission?
- College tuition? College savings?
All the "extras"
- Do you split the cost of a car for the child?
- Who pays for the cell phone? Or the cell phone bill?
- Out of town visitation: Who is responsible? Does the parent still pay child support for the time the child is with him?
- Extra-curricular activities: dance, music, trips, sports and all the other things that cost so much when it comes to raising a child... how will those be determined or paid for?
After a divorce or separation it may seem as if things are going to get better. But reality is that there are even more things to discuss when it comes to sharing expenses and exchanging child support with the other parent. Don't wait until it's too late to settle these things. If you discuss these things early and "define the rules," both parents will be able to significantly reduce the conflict associated with co-parenting and sharing expenses.