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Child custody — shared expenses doesn’t necessarily mean equal split

On Behalf of | Apr 30, 2024 | Child Custody And Support |

As a Missouri parent who is filing for a divorce, you must work out an agreement with your ex regarding all issues that pertain to your children. You can negotiate the terms yourselves or ask the court to do it for you, which is what often happens when two parents cannot reach an agreement on their own. For example, determining where your children will live after you finalize a settlement is part of child custody proceedings. You must also determine how to share expenses.

Sharing expenses doesn’t necessarily mean you and your ex will split all child-related costs 50/50 between you. One of you might earn a much higher income than the other, so a 50/50 split for expenses wouldn’t be fair. Sharing expenses simply means that you each agree to accept responsibility for a portion of expenses associated with your children’s needs. If you both agree that the split is fair, it doesn’t have to be equal.

What types of expenses do parents share in a child custody case?

The following list provides examples of issues that you’ll want to discuss with your ex when determining how to split expenses in a child custody case:

  • Medical care, especially uninsured expenses
  • Dental procedures not covered by insurance
  • Daily care expenses and personal items
  • Education fees, sports or activity fees, and more
  • Extracurricular activities, such as camps or private music lessons

It’s important to differentiate between child support and shared expenses in a child custody agreement. The items on this list include expenses that are typically not associated with regular child support payments.

Additional expenses that parents will want to discuss

As you settle a divorce, you and your ex will want to talk about things like vacations, pet expenses and luxury items or events involving your children, like buying a teenager a car or going to a concert. Also, keep in mind that a child who is a toddler when you divorce will have more financial needs as he or she grows older.

There’s no way to predict with 100% certainty every expense or financial need your children will have in the years to come. However, if you take time to think ahead and talk things out before you sign a child custody agreement, you can create a solid shared-expenses plan that helps alleviate stress and avoid disputes. If a legal problem arises regarding child-related financial matters, it is best to resolve it as amicably as you can, and if that’s not possible, it may be best to seek legal support.

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Illinois State Bar Association
LEX | The Missouri Bar