Financial Parenting Issues After Divorce
by Dr. Michael Rubino, Rubino Counseling Services <http://www.rcs-ca.com>, Pleasant Hill, CA
When you get a divorce you can stop being husband and wife, but you can never stop being parents. I often meet parents who forget that a divorce does not change the need for them to work together. You must figure out how to co-parent, and finances are a large part of that conversation.
Who’s going to pay for baseball signups, Boy Scouts, and Girl Scouts? Often fathers feel they don’t need to pay for these activities because they already pay child support. This results in disagreement and arguments. Heartbreakingly, I have observed that children will often choose to stop doing outside activities in order to avoid parental arguments. When you put your child in the middle of these arguments your child is the one who gets hurt. Even though financial arguments may raise valid points on both sides, ultimately, you want to do what is best for your child.
As you go through the divorce process, discuss child-related financial issues and decide how to handle them. Also, come up with a plan for how you will discuss financial issues that come up after the divorce. Understanding that you decided to divorce for a reason, and that money matters can be a very sensitive topic, don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially if it will help your child. Look into going to a therapist who specializes in co-parenting. A therapist will be familiar with these issues and can assist as you work through disagreements and find solutions that are best for your child.
College tuition is a major financial issue I see with parents who are divorcing. Parents have different opinions about paying for college. Some feel it is their duty as a parent to pay for college while others feel their child can take on student loans and get an afterschool job. A quick solution for this issue is the understanding that you cannot force your spouse to have the same beliefs as you do regarding college. Your child is now an adult, and taking on some financial responsibility is an option you may need to consider.
Whether you’re discussing college tuition, Little League, or money for the prom, always focus on what’s best for your child. Forget he said/she said, forget about alimony or child support. This is not a contest about who will win. If you make it a contest, your child loses. For the sake of your child, if you have to pay a little extra for Little League, isn’t it worth it?
Dr. Michael Rubino has over 18 years experience working with couples in high conflict divorces. For more information about Dr. Rubino’s work or private practice, visit his websites http://www.rcs-ca.com and http://www.drmichaelrubino.com, or on Follow him on Twitter at Twitter.com/RubinoTherapy.