Figuring out how to effectively co-parent can be a struggle. You and your child’s other parent might have conflicting ideas about the best way to raise your child, which can lead to heated disputes that are difficult to resolve. But even if you and your child’s other parent are on good terms, you can still find yourself amid conflict when financial issues pertaining to your child arise.
And there can be a number of events pertaining to your child that can be quite costly. If you don’t know how to effectively navigate them with your child’s other parent, you might be unfairly left on the hook to cover more than what you should pay. To prevent this from happening, you need to be aware of some of the most common financial difficulties parents face and know how to properly deal with them.
Three of the most common financial struggles co-parents face
As your children age, they’re going to need a lot of financial support. Here are three of the most common matters that often lead to disputes among co-parents:
- Your child’s medical needs: Medical expenses can quickly accumulate. Some of these expenses are expected, such as after your child’s diagnosis of a disease, but in other instances, the medical expenses are sudden and unexpected, such as when you child breaks a bone. Even if you and your child’s other parent have strong insurance coverage, the medical expenses associated with treating these conditions can devastate your savings, which is where the conflict over who should pay comes in.
- Your child’s educational expenses: Your child’s educational and social development is furthered to a great extent at school and through school-related activities. But school supplies and fees tied to extracurricular activities can be pricey. You might expect your child’s other parent to pitch in to pay their fair share, but they might be resistant to do so, which can put you in a financial bind.
- Your child’s expectations for spending money: If you share custody with your child’s other parent, you might find yourself in an argument with your child or the other parent about how much money your child gets for an allowance. While this might cause a financial strain, it’s more likely to set you on course for an argument over the principle of the matter. It may seem minor, but you don’t want your child to resent you because you’re the stricter parent.
How can you navigate these financial challenges?
Even though these matters can be stressful, there are steps you can take to make it easier to navigate these financial issues. Here are some of them:
- Set expectations: Have a conversation with your child’s other parent about financial expectations. When it comes to medical costs, you can each agree to set a certain amount of money aside each month so that it’s fair, and you can also discuss who will cover which portions of educational and extracurricular expenses.
- Use technology: There are a number of apps out there to help you track your child’s expenses so that it’s easier to discuss them with the other parent. Use these to your advantage so that you can more easily address the matter in court, if needed.
- Adjust your support arrangement: One way to ensure the other parent is pulling their weight is to modify your support agreement to shift their financial support toward things like medical and educational expenses. This can prevent them from arguing that they’re adequately supporting the child by engaging in discretionary spending.
- Model the behavior you want to see: There’s only so much you can do to change the financial behavior of your child’s other parent. If they’re spending too much on your child and thereby setting unrealistic expectations, you might want to try modeling the financial behavior that you want your child to exhibit and respect. This can take time to see some results, so you’ll need to stay committed to it.
Legal help is here if you need it
Co-parenting can be difficult. It can be stressful to face the financial challenges associated with raising your kid. But there are ways to get through it. If you’d like guidance on how to navigate your unique set of circumstances, you might want to think about reaching out to a family law attorney who is experienced in addressing these sorts of issues.