Dividing up parenting responsibilities is the main issue following the dissolution of a relationship that involves children. It is a must to learn how to co-parent effectively, not only to raise the kids well, but also to manage the costs. Following are some tips to co-parent and save money.
Talk about your responsibilities
Good communication is critical for successful co-parenting. A divorce decree spelling out who is responsible for what makes things easier but if you were not married, talk about your finances and cover these points:
Expectations. Set realistic expectations as early as possible, especially over who is supposed to pay what later.
Boundaries. What is essential to the money and child-rearing conversation? Paying for the education of your children must be discussed but not your personal savings or income.
Priorities. It is likely that you and your ex will not agree on everything. This is okay as long as you resolve the issues that are worth fighting over. Keep your focus and let go of trivialities.
Create a co-parenting budget
Developing a budget early on will make the co-parenting process smoother. List all of your child-related expenses and how much each person should contribute. Also, identify expenses that will be split and those that will be assumed by one parent. Your budget can include things like daycare, babysitting, tuition, healthcare, extracurricular activities, birthdays and holiday gifts, clothing, and savings for college.
How you decide to split these expenses depends on things like how custody is shared and the respective incomes of each parent. A 50-50 split is appropriate if custody is shared equally and both parents bring home similar paychecks. A 70-30 split may be required if one parent makes significantly more than the other.
Saving money as co-parents
If you are on good terms with one another’s family, they could help with babysitting or childcare. The bigger issue would be healthcare so review your health plans and decide what is the smartest option to cover the kids. Do the same for your tax filing and decide who would claim the kids each year to maximize the savings.