Discussions about money between spouses don’t end when they divorce.
In fact, as long as they are parenting children together, ex-mates in Florida and across the United States will have to talk about finances.
You’d think money issues would be solved with the signing of the divorce decree, the awarding of child support and the determination of who will pay for certain fixed costs. But it isn’t as simple as Mom pays for child care, Dad pays for medical insurance.
As you know as a parent, there are lots of expenses that come up. If your kids are little, you’re used to the relatively small costs, such as a haircut or a pair of shoes. The older they get, the bigger the expenses, such as fees for a traveling sports team. And then there’s the huge expenses: a car, the high school semester abroad or college tuition.
It isn’t even too early to sit down during the divorce process to estimate some of those expenses and write down how you might pay for it. If your ex-spouse earns $100,000 a year now and you earn $50,000, it isn’t unreasonable to ask your spouse to pay a proportionate amount down the road. That way, adjustments can be made to account for job losses or job promotions that you can’t predict now.
It’s important to keep the lines of communication open and talk about expenses and what you can afford collectively – the same way you would if you were married.
So, when your child needs a computer for school, a new musical instrument or braces, talk about it to figure out what is a necessary purchase and a reasonable price. If you want your child to join a gym but your ex disagrees, then you can decide whether to bear that cost on your own.
As the kids get older, don’t hesitate to involve them in the discussion to set priorities. Teens would benefit from learning how to weigh making a purchase and taking on a part-time job to help with some of the expenses.
In a perfect world, the two former spouses will agree on financial arrangements down the road. However, if there is a large expense that is important for your child’s future that your ex refuses to pay, it could be worth it to consult with a family law attorney to learn your options of how to proceed.