If you are going through a divorce, there's a lot to keep track of. When kids are involved, it's easy to lose track of everything that has been settled and everything that still needs to be decided. One of the key ways to keep yourself on track is to understand what your child support will cover and what you need to make arrangements for with your co-parent. You can include these expenses in a parenting plan to make it easier to reference them, or you two can negotiate them as they arise. Just like everything else that arises from co-parenting after a divorce, it's generally easier if you plan ahead.
Child support only covers the basics, such as room and board, and does not include calculations about a number of necessary expenses kids regularly incur, including:
- Clothes or uniforms needed to participate in extracurricular activities
- Costs for sports, clubs, musical instruments and other activities
- Yearbooks, tutoring and other school-related expenses
- Private school tuition
- College funds
- Your child's first car
Planning ahead to cover costs
If you and your co-parent have a plan that puts responsibility for certain decisions in the hands of one spouse or the other, you can sort out which of the above expenses falls into which person's agreed-upon responsibility. If you plan to discuss these issues as they come up, you can also typically negotiate whether you want to share the expense or who will pay for what.
The important thing about any financial planning for your children is that they are supported when their needs arise. Finding a way to do so often just means working together to negotiate which parent will pay for what expenses and which expenses will be shared.
Seeking and modifying support orders
If your divorce involves children, one parent or the other will often wind up paying child support. To make sure you obtain a custody arrangement and support arrangement that works for you, find a divorce attorney whose practice is built around helping families with children during such hard times. That way, you will not only have legal advice that understands your situation and your goals, you will also have a resource to seek out in the event that you need to modify those support orders.