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Managing School-Related Expenses with Your Co-Parent

Here are 4 tips to help co-parents manage their child’s school-related expenses.

With kids back in school, there are a lot of additional expenses for parents to consider. From school supply costs to extracurriculars, co-parents have a lot of payments to coordinate. Here are 4 ways you and your co-parent can manage school-related expenses successfully this year:

Kid's backpack

1. Make a list of all anticipated costs 

You and your co-parent should start by making a list of all school-related expenses you expect to pay for. This list should be as comprehensive as possible, including costs that may come up outside of the classroom. Here are some common school-related expenses to consider: 

  • School supplies 
  • Classroom fees 
  • Uniforms and/or new back to school clothes 
  • Extracurricular activity fees 
  • After school care  
  • Field trips 
  • Lunch money 
  • School-related dances like homecoming and/or prom  
  • School-related events like plays, games, etc. 

Make sure you and your co-parent communicate with your child about what they plan to participate in during the school year, so you can plan your school expenses list accordingly. The fewer last-minute items to pop up, the less potential for conflict between you and your co-parent.

Teenage girl on phone

2. Divvy up financial responsibilities 

Once you and your co-parent have your school expenses list put together, it’s time to coordinate. You should discuss who will pay for what, and how these payments will be broken up. Often times, co-parents split school-related costs evenly or adjust contributions based on each parent’s income. Other times, financial responsibilities like this are already laid out in the parenting plan, so co-parents in this situation will need to reference their agreement.

Accountable Payments

3. Use a shared payments tool 

Using a shared payments tool to keep track of all school-related expenses can make life a lot easier for both you and your co-parent. TalkingParents offers the Accountable Payments feature, which allows co-parents to securely send and receive money, while keeping all coordination on an Unalterable Record. Nothing can ever be changed or deleted, and all requests and payments are timestamped, so confusion over who paid what/when is eliminated. 

With Accountable Payments, you and your co-parent can also schedule monthly recurring payments. Scheduling monthly recurring payments can help you manage expenses that are due regularly during the school year, such as club fees, payments for music lessons, after-school care charges, etc. Learn more about How Accountable Payments Helps Co-Parents

4. Budget for unexpected fees 

As all parents know, you can’t plan for everything, and some unanticipated expenses are bound to pop up. The best way for you and your co-parent to prepare for last-minute school-related fees is to set aside a contingency fund. Budgeting for some unexpected costs upfront should reduce financial stress for both co-parents and help you avoid conflict in the moment.  

Communication and coordination are key

If your relationship with your co-parent allows, discussing school-related expenses and making a plan to manage them is extremely beneficial. Finances can put stress on any relationship, especially on parents who share custody. TalkingParents is a co-parenting communication service designed to make your shared parenting journey a little easier. Learn more about our features and then sign up today. 

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