What Costs More – Diapers or a Car?

What Costs More? Two Years of Diapers or An 18 Year Old With A Car?

Dear Divorce Information NOW,

My husband and I have finally decided to get divorced after many months of trying to work things out and stay together. I am so concerned about how I am going to get the financial support I need from my husband for my children and their expenses.  What issues should I be thinking about?

Thanks for any guidance you can give me,


Dear Nancy,

Financial support for children is obviously a key concern for most parents.  It is important to have a written agreement in place that outlines responsibility for child support, educational expenses, and health insurance. The factors that determine who pays for the care and maintenance of your children is determined by the state you live in/divorce in. Factors like your (and I am including your husband’s) educational levels, if either parent has been the “stay at home parent” and for how long, your/your spouse’s health, your occupations, your sources of income, your vocational skills, your employability, as well as future possibilities for income and assets are all factors that go into the mix to determine responsibility for child support.

In order to negotiate with your spouse on this topic, it is a good idea to ask some of the following questions and create your own “FINANCIAL WISH LIST”.

Ask yourself the following:

  • What do I hope for in the best of all worlds?
  • What do I think is reasonable?
  • How do I think a court would adjudicate this issue in view of the aforementioned criteria?
  • How do I think my spouse will weigh in without going to court?

NEVER FORGET: Anything you and your spouse can work out on your own without the involvement of a lawyer or the courts is probably more effective, less expensive, and more appropriate for your family.

Consider The Following Issues:

  1. Which parent is responsible for child support?
  2. What is the $ amount of the child support?
  3. Duration of responsibility?
  4. Timing of payments? (Monthly? Quarterly?)
  5. Method of Payment?
  6. Consequences for late, irregular or non-payment?
  7. How are “Cost of Living” Increases going to be handled?
  8. Who is taxed for the child support?
  9. How is late, irregular or non-payment of child support handled? By the court, a mediator, a family friend or local clergy?
  10. Do you have an agreed upon plan for the possibility of a change in financial circumstances ( ie. loss of job)
  11. Does financial support change in any way if custodial arrangements change?
  12. Do you want to put a plan in place for coverage of expenses associated with scheduling changes?

(i.e., You are responsible for “the care and feeding of your 3 children for the summer. Your spouse is unwilling or unable to take the children for the summer. You have additional expenses for that time period. Who, and in what amount, is responsible and who enforces that responsibility?)

When determining a dollar amount for child support, NEVER FORGET “little children, little expenses” & “big children, big expenses”. Diapers, as plentiful as they are, can’t hold a candle to the expense of buying your child a car, insuring him/her personally and their car and paying for the gas, not to mention fender benders.

In short, think well and think ahead. In this emotionally difficult time, it may seem almost impossible to think sensibly and rationally about these issues that seem so far off in the future, but it is very well worthwhile.  Wishing you best of success and tremendous future happiness.

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