The division of children and time with children is one of the most complicated issues when it comes to divorce. Not only do parents have to determine when each parent will spend time with the child and who will take over caregiver responsibilities, but they also have to decide who will take the primary financial responsibilities as well. Once this is determined, the issue of child support also becomes a part of the discussion.
If you are in the midst of a divorce and child support is a part of the conversation, there are a few issues that should be discussed by you, your spouse, and your lawyers for your interest and the best interest of your children.
If you are divorcing while children are young, it is important to look towards the future and milestone expenses that will occur. These costs include things such as the purchase of a first car (and insurance for that car), quinceanera, bat/bar mitzvah, proms, graduation parties, and even birthday parties. These potential situations should be discussed so that expectations do not come as a surprise to parents once the event comes around.
One of the most significant expenses that every parent has to discuss is college. With the rising cost of higher education, it has become difficult for any parent to tackle the entire expense. However, Parents should consider if they still plan on saving jointly for their child’s education, or if they will save separately. Also, it should be decided upon which parent will cover which specific costs. When discussing these responsibilities, be sure not to overlook added expenses such as housing, food, and recreation. Also, once your child is old enough discuss these plans with them, so they understand their responsibilities and the responsibilities of each parent. If you plan for everything, you cannot be hit with unexpected costs that you cannot afford.
Unexpected expenses are always going to occur, especially when raising a child. For this reason, you cannot prepare for everything. However, it is wise to discuss how each spouse will handle unexpected expenses or requests from the child for additional funds when the situation arises. For example, how will the cost of medical deductibles or large medical bills be allocated? Or, if the child wants to go on a trip with their friends will the parents discuss that decision and the expense together or will one parent have the ultimate decision making and financial responsibility.
Of course, as a parent, you want to make every decision in the best interest of your child. If you can discuss these questions with your spouse and lawyer related to child support, you will be able to make more informed, better final decisions in regard to financial responsibility.