If you’re still fairly new to being a divorced parent, you may not realize that now is the time for a discussion with your co-parent about school expenses for the coming year and other related issues.
It won’t be long before you need to go back-to-school shopping for clothes and supplies, and you may need to discuss a few other important issues. Ideally, you want to get these conversations out of the way well before the season starts.
What do you need to talk about with your co-parent?
Before you discuss anything, take a good look at your parenting plan and custody agreement. They may include guidelines about how to handle school issues. It helps to re-familiarize yourself with them before you start a discussion with your ex.
Here are issues you may need to address:
- Clothing and school supplies: Technically, child support is designed to cover at least some of these expenses — but a child’s needs can change drastically from year to year. Even if your child support covers clothing, it may not cover the cost of a laptop, e-reader or other high-ticket items your child may need.
- Extracurricular activities and costs: Does your child want to be in band this year? What will that cost? How will the expenses be divided? What effect will their participation in the band have on your co-parent’s visitation times? All of these issues may need to be negotiated and agreed-upon with your co-parent.
- Basic scheduling issues: Did you have a drop-off and pick-up routine that you split with your co-parent during the previous school year? Don’t assume that the agreement carries over to the current year. Make sure you both know what you’re expected to do.
- After-school care: Does your child still need supervision between school and the time you or your co-parent makes it home? Who will be watching them? Are you and your co-parent both comfortable with that arrangement?
Having these conversations now can help you avoid last minute complications that will disrupt your child’s education (or your peace of mind). If you and your co-parent can’t agree on matters or your support payments are inadequate to cover your child’s needs, it may be time to discuss other legal options.