When lack of communication and differences in money management lead to relationship breakdown, the easy solution is to jump ship and make and agreement. When children are in the mix though, those very things that may have led you down the road to divorce, are the very things that you will have to continue to deal with as you co-parent. In order to co-parent well, communication is monumental. In order to take care of the children and their needs, money management is the first order of business. And we all know how much it costs to raise kids these days!
There are some key things to talk about when completing the child support agreement that will help solve problems before they arise. Here are the 4 things you must discuss:
Who’s insurance policy will the children be on?
Who will pay the insurance policy, or how will it be split?
What about copays, prescriptions, or emergency expenses?
How will braces, eyeglasses, or other needs be taken care of?
2. Child Care
How will child care expenses be split up?
What will we do during summer breaks or school holidays?
How will children be taken care of when they are sick, and who will pay for that?
What about summer camps and activities that the children are involved in…who will pay or take them?
What is a reasonable amount to spend on summer activities?
How will we split the children’s time between parents?
Public or private school, what are your options?
Who will pay for and transport children?
How will textbooks, school supplies, clothing, and other needs be taken care of?
What about sports and extracurricular activities, what are the costs and who will cover those costs?
Do you have a college savings plan and if so, how much will each parent contribute?
Cell phone costs?
Car costs if child is driving age?
Extra activities, sports, birthday parties, music, equipment, clothing, etc
There are so many costs involved with raising a child, it is best to talk about every possible one you can think of when sitting down to hash out the child support agreement with your ex. The best offense is a good defense, so the more you can cover now and decide how you are going to handle something before it comes up, the more you are protecting your family. Define the rules of the child support agreement early and you will reduce the amount of conflict that rises to the top in future situations.
For more information from the State of California on Child Support Agreement, check out this resource.