When a marriage comes to an end and there are children involved, learning how to effectively raise them with a co-parent can be tough, particularly from the financial perspective. In fact, navigating the shared expenses of raising a child may require co-parents to save up at least $233,610 on average to raise a child until the age of 17, according to recent statistics by the United States Department of Agriculture. With that in mind, here are four smart and conflict-free ways to create a co-parenting budget and save money for your children’s future.
Develop a System
The key to a successful co-parenting system that works for the long haul is to develop a system for dividing expenses and stick to it. The divorce decree can serve as a guide to communicating about shared expenses as it clearly spells out the specific cost responsibilities of each co-parent. It’s crucial that both parents are amicable to each other and feel a part of the decision-making process. Another way is to put all children-related costs on a credit card held in both parents’ names, then split the bill at the end of the month to smooth out the co-parenting process. On the other hand, a 70-30 split is also a popular choice for co-parent budgeting when one parent makes significantly more.
Use a Budgeting App
In this modern and technologically-oriented generation, effective co-parent budgeting doesn’t necessarily require constant meetings and phone calls. In fact, there are dozens of co-parenting apps and tools that will keep all child-related needs in one place. Most of these apps can be used to transfer and track money through their built-in payment solutions. Inputting data into an app that both parties have access to will allow users to keep a record of all communications to minimize emotional conflict. This transparency ensures that accounts are reconciled to avoid miscommunications and leave less room for bickering.
From tax penalties to attorney fees and everything in between, getting a divorce comes with financial costs that can put a strain on one’s finances. When a co-parent is sucked into a financial abyss, writing off bad debt first can make a huge impact on their financial stability. Likewise, having some lifestyle changes and putting a monthly cap on expenses may be needed at this point. While this transition may present many money-related challenges, they can be alleviated through proper budgeting and living below one’s means. It can also be a good idea to find a qualified financial planner that can provide fresh perspectives to make well-informed financial decisions.
Always Put The Children First
One of the best ways to work out financial issues together as co-parents is to always put the children first. Parent separation, in and of itself, can already take a huge toll on the children involved. In fact, it is said that children are barometers of a parent’s emotional well-being, so it will require consistent effort and reassurance to help them navigate their new family situation. Likewise, it is important to start setting money aside for long-term expenses associated with raising children, such as paying for college and buying their first car. Recent studies from Esme have also revealed that kids whose parents prioritize their needs are found to process the divorce better.
With a clear co-parenting budget plan, co-parents can separate emotions and make cost-sharing less stressful. Getting as much laid out upfront in a separation agreement can provide a sense of clarity and make things simpler over time. Beyond budgeting for the kids, it is also important that both parents review their own financial health to make things work for the sake of the children.