Having a blended family, or having a co-parent, is the new norm. That being said, sharing your child’s expenses is also the new norm, and that can sometimes be frustrating.
Very often, one of the reasons that people divorce or separate is due to different views on finances. Therefore, when you are subsequently trying to co-parent, you may still be disagreeing on how, where, why and when to allocate funds for your child(ren). That is part of what makes sharing expenses such as child care, unreimbursed medical expenses and extracurricular activities difficult.
However, if you do have an agreement, or even an out-of-court arrangement with your co-parent to share expenses for your child(ren), you should make, and use, a system that works for both of you. Many people use Excel spreadsheets and scan in receipts to accompany it. There are also expense-tracking apps that can help you with this. Another tip is to inform your co-parent of expenses in a timely fashion. It is generally easier for someone to pay his or her share of small balances frequently rather than large lump sums of money all at once.
Most importantly-make sure you keep your receipts! You should provide copies of your receipts to your co-parent for reimbursement, and you should keep the originals for yourself. Try to always send the copies electronically, so you have a record of what you provided to your co-parent and when.
Communication with your co-parent is very important. Talking to your co-parent about expenses, or enrollment in new activities before they occur may be helpful. They will appreciate having the chance to give their input, and they also won’t feel blindsided when they receive the receipts.
Wolf & Shore, LLC encourages co-parenting, and we know that it’s not always easy. If you need a co-parenting counselor, we can refer one to you. If you need to put a parenting plan in place, or modify the one you already have, we are here to help!