Parenting is not an easy job – it is not inexpensive either. And managing financial responsibilities can become even more complicated for parents after a divorce.
So, how can New Jersey parents effectively handle parenting expenses?
1. Create a plan
A financial strategy is often an essential part of any parenting plan. This allows parents to determine how they will handle larger expenses in the child’s life, such as:
- Childcare costs;
- Their child’s education;
- Any extracurricular activities;
- Clothing and other essential needs; and
- The child’s healthcare.
Since parents with joint custody must make decisions regarding these issues together, then they must also determine how they will pay for them together. Parents should carefully consider their financial situations and create an effective plan to manage these expenses.
2. Communicate and track expenses
Communication is an important part of every aspect of co-parenting. It is the sign of an effective co-parenting relationship.
When expenses arise – such as a summer camp their child wishes to attend – parents must take time to discuss the financial plan for how they will pay, even if they address these issues in their parenting plan.
However, they should also communicate about smaller expenses. Several co-parenting apps allow parents to:
- Track expenses;
- Share receipts; and
- Arrange reimbursements.
Overall, communication is critical to avoid any conflict over parenting expenses.
3. Set a budget for gifts
Establishing a relative budget for each co-parent to follow can help both parents save money and protect their financial health.
In many cases, a budget can also help parents prevent competition. After a divorce, it is common for parents to try and compete with each other. One common form of parental competition is to purchase expensive gifts to outdo the other parent. Therefore, it helps if parents establish a budget for any expenses not related to the child’s needs – such as gifts on holidays or birthdays.
If parents proactively communicate and establish a budget, they can avoid competition and protect the best interests of the whole family.