Raising a child is expensive. Room, board, clothing, medical expenses and college are costly all on their own. But then there are all those additional expenses that add up when your child is active in sports, clubs, academia and other interests. These expenditures are already quite challenging when you and your spouse are working together to pay them. But, a divorce can really impact how these expenses are met.
Who Is Responsible for “Extra Expenses”?
When a couple with children separates, one parent is typically ordered to pay child support. This individual often feels that these payments should cover all expenses. That includes extras, such as costs for sports equipment and dues, music lessons, summer camp and other fees and costs associated with your children’s extra-curricular activities and interests.
The problem is that many couples never actually discuss these issues. This naturally leads to disagreements and animosity, which negatively affects your children. Financially speaking, if you are the one receiving child support, it may only cover the essentials. Divorce can be expensive. Many single moms and dads struggle financially in their separate households. When this is the case and your ex isn’t willing to pitch in for extras, your children are typically the ones who bear the brunt of the issue, and are no longer able to participate in the activities they love.
Even when you can swing the added costs and fees, the resulting bitterness and anger can overflow. Your child may hear you complaining about the money and your ex’s unwillingness to chip in. They may feel that they are the ones you resent. This often dissuades them from continued participation in these costly endeavors. It also adversely affects their happiness and self-esteem. The reverse can be true when your ex does help pay for extras, but complains about it.
Planning During Divorce
The most effective method of handling these potential problems is to address them in your divorce settlement. Naturally, your children’s ages impact their current activities. But, you should both spend some time discussing future eventualities as well. Do you want your children to go to summer camp? Are gymnastics, music, or dancing lessons in their future? Discuss these and other possible activities and their associated costs and fees to ensure that you design a comprehensive parenting plan and support agreement that touches on as many issues as possible.
Mediation can be especially helpful for negotiating these issues. Often, couples who are unable to amicably discuss things like property division and alimony, take a different tack when it comes to their children. It’s always advantageous and desirable when you can put your child’s best interest before your own. If you are facing divorce with children, contact a California divorce lawyer to help you navigate these thorny issues.
Sources: http://family.findlaw.com/child-support/what-does-child-support-cover.html, http://statelaws.findlaw.com/california-law/california-child-support-guidelines.html