When it comes to creating a parenting plan in a divorce, most people consider how they will divide parenting time and parental responsibilities, as well as the guidelines for parenting and discipline they will establish in two separate homes.
All of these are important details that Illinois parents must hash out in their plan. However, other critical factors they must consider are their financial responsibilities as parents.
Raising a child can be expensive
Most parents know that having a baby can be expensive, but the expenses only increase as the child grows. For example, just a few things parents are responsible to pay for include:
- The child’s basic needs, including clothing and medical care;
- Childcare costs, including babysitting or daycare;
- Education costs, such as tuition or savings; and
- Fees for the child’s activities and other events.
And according to MarketWatch, the cost of raising a child has increased significantly. On average, it can cost more than $233,000 to raise a child from birth to when they turn 17.
When parents divorce, their child support agreement will help them determine how to divide many of the costs required to raise a child. However, child support does not always cover all of these costs. Co-parents will still have to determine how to cover some of these costs as they come up.
Parental competition can also have negative financial effects
Unfortunately, parents might try to compete with each other after divorce. There are several reasons for this. Some parents wish to be seen as better than the other, or they feel guilty about what the child experienced during the divorce.
Regardless of the reason, this competition often manifests financially. Parents might buy their children expensive toys or other material items to win their affections. This especially becomes a concern with the holidays coming up. In the long run, this often only hurts the child, as well as both parents’ finances.
Creating a budget is an important part of any parenting plan
One of the best ways that parents can handle the costs of raising a child and avoid expensive competition is by creating a financial plan within the parenting plan. It can be helpful to:
- Divide financial responsibilities in a way that works best for the family;
- Make sure parents consult each other for significant expenses, such as medical costs or field trips; and
- Establish rules and a fairly-flexible budget for gifts, toys or other additional costs.
If parents make a financial plan, they can proactively prepare for and avoid complex disputes in the future.