The cost of raising a child is a big expense. When parents divorce, the cost of raising the child shouldn't have to fall only on one parent. Instead, both parents need to work as a team to ensure the child has everything necessary to live.
Sharing child expenses as a divorced couple isn't always easy. It requires you and your ex to work together. Here are some points to consider about sharing expenses for raising a child:
Set up the agreement
You and your ex must have an agreement about who is going to pay which expenses for the children. Setting this up right away is beneficial so that you know what you will be responsible for and what your ex will have to pay. Be sure that you don't limit the agreement to only medical bills. Add in education, extracurricular and other expenses that your children are likely to incur.
Another point to remember is that you need to set up a system for reimbursement. Sometimes, one parent will have to pay an entire expense all at once. Determine how the repayment will occur. Will the other parent pay the paying parent back right away? Will the paying parent have a credit to put toward the next shared expense?
Write out the agreement so that you can refer to it later. It is a good idea to sign it and have your ex sign it so that there aren't any misunderstandings about what was agreed to. You can check the written agreement in the future if there is ever a question of who pays what.
Talk to each other
There is a chance that the expense reimbursement and shared expense calculations won't always be perfect. You and your ex will have to work together when there are questions or concerns about expenses. Direct, respectful and calm communication is best in these cases.
Don't put the kids in the middle of these touchy financial issues. You child shouldn't be asked to relay messages. If you and your ex can't speak to each other regarding these issues, use emails, text messages or another similar option to get everything worked out.
The expense agreement you and your ex work out isn't a replacement for child support. This is an additional tool that helps both parents provide the child with things he or she needs and enjoys. As is the case with everything related to child custody and support, make sure you put your child first.