When a marriage comes to an end and there are children involved, the central issue becomes the welfare of the kids and putting a co-parenting plan in place. Divorce can present financial difficulties for both former spouses which means planning for a child’s future needs can be a challenge.

Good communication is the key when it comes to a co-parenting agreement. While responsibilities may be spelled out in the divorce decree, both parents need to be on the same page for all the child’s current and future living expenses.

Create a co-parenting budget

Making a detailed list of all expenses, whether they are shared or are one parent’s responsibility, can make for a much smoother process. For shared costs, your list could include:

  • Health care and dental
  • School tuition
  • Extra-curriculars such as sports, music or art lessons
  • Clothing
  • Babysitting
  • Daycare or after-school care
  • Birthday and holiday gifts
  • College savings accounts

Decide how the expenses will be shared

How these costs will be shared could depend upon the parenting plan put in place by the court. It may be a 50-50 split if both parents share custody equally and make similar incomes. An 80-20 split may be appropriate if one makes substantially more than the other. Daily living costs, such as housing and food, should also be included.

Saving on other costs

If both parents are still on good terms, there may be different ways to save money, including:

  • Babysitting: One or both families can help to reduce daycare or childcare expenses
  • Health care: One or both parents can take advantage of Health Savings Accounts at work
  • Filing taxes: It may make better financial sense for one parent to claim kids as dependents or to alternate claims each year

Co-parenting plans can ease financial and emotional issues

Divorce can cause hard feelings and emotional distress for families as well as potential financial difficulties especially when children are involved. An experienced family law attorney here in Washington can not only protect your rights in a divorce but help you find a co-parenting plan that works for everyone and helps ease financial pressures.