One of the most contentious matters when parents divorce is how the children's expenses will be split. Even if one parent has to pay child support, there is still a possibility that there will be other expenses like school supplies or fees for extracurricular activities that will need to be divided between the parents.
In order to minimize potential problems later, it is important to have clear plans for these expenses outlined in the child custody and support orders.
What expenses are shared?
You and your ex need a detailed outline addressing who is responsible for which expenses. Some of the more common costs split between parents are school tuition, extracurricular activity fees and out-of-pocket medical expenses. For example, medical expenses and school costs might be a 50-50 split, but extracurricular activity fees might fall primarily on the parent who signs the child up for the activity.
Are there limits to what is shared?
You should also set a standard for which expenses you can include without the other parent's approval. For example, you might set a $100 limit so that anything over that amount needs to be approved by both parents.
When will reimbursement occur?
Not all reimbursement needs to happen right away. You might settle up once a month, quarterly or annually. It is important to determine how re0payments will occur. For example, will you each tally what you owe and pay each other? Or, will you tally everything up and figure out the difference in totals and then one parent pay the other based on that?
What documentation is needed?
Determine now what documentation is needed. Do all expenses need proof or is there a minimum amount to require this? If you do need to provide proof of an expense, you might want to send those to your ex via email or an information sharing app right away. This reduces the chance that you will forget about it or lose the receipt.
What happens if there is a dispute?
There might be times when shared expenses are disputed. Make sure that your agreement has a clear process for resolution. There is a chance that you might have to go to court to settle matters if you and your ex can't reach accord.