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Following a financial plan for your children is key after divorce

Divorce brings a lot of changes to a family -- often two households and kids with one parent one week, the other parent the next.

While issues between the adults led to a divorce, they undoubtedly both love their kids and want what's best for them. That starts with being dedicated to co-parenting -- and that includes developing a financial plan for your shared kids. That can be stressful, but it doesn't have to be if you're both committed to providing for your children.

After your divorce is final, sit down together with your divorce decree. Remember that if there is bitterness between you, it's time to put that aside. This is for the kids.

Your divorce decree is a ready-made road map to follow. It typically will outline who pays what in terms of education, health care and extracurricular activities such as sports or music lessons.

Having those issues agreed to, and in writing, is great. Continued communication about children-focused finances is key.

It is wise to communicate frequently (for example, weekly or monthly) by the method that works best for you: phone, email, text or in person. It is ideal to look ahead at expenses that might be coming up, such as camp, dance or football registration, or school fees, for planning and budgeting purposes.

There is software available to make communication between the two parties easier. It allows them to share receipts and other documents and also deposit money into a bank account to cover expenses.

Sharing documents, such as bills, in this manner allows both parties to see that the expenses are legitimate.

This is how figuring expenses for kids should work in a perfect world. But not all divorces are perfect, and not all ex-spouses can get along long-term. If your ex isn't living up to terms of the agreement made in your divorce decree, it's time to turn to an experienced family law attorney for assistance.

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