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Your parenting plan can dictate parenting cost reimbursements

Most divorced parents soon realize that child support barely scratches the surface of the expenses that are necessary for rearing healthy children.

But how can the parent receiving support — and the parent paying it — determine how to apportion their shares of the remaining child-rearing costs for things like school tuition, sports equipment and uniforms, summer camp costs and extracurricular activity fees?

It can devolve into a stressful and confusing brouhaha. The custodial parent claims not to be able to afford these expenses, while the one paying support points out the monthly obligations are up-to-date. It's a conundrum.

A parenting plan addresses extraneous costs

When Tennessee parents divorce, they need to consider drafting comprehensive parenting plans to address all matters succinctly.

This is especially helpful in co-parenting situations. Having a defined system in place to handle expenses and reimbursements can go a long way to eliminate stress and anxiety about the resolution of these matters.

Try the below tips to resolve your family's cost/reimbursement crisis.

Hammer out a solution

You may not want to borrow trouble by bringing up these matters ahead of need, but it's far better to resolve contentious child support issues with clear heads than it is to wade into the fray in the heat of the moment.

Decide how expenses can be equitably divided. Maybe one parent can pay 60 percent and the other 40 percent. Some couples may prefer to divide costs 50/50. Still others may feel most comfortable with it being divided according to the spouses' incomes.

Once you have your solution, commit it to writing in your parenting plan and abide by it.

Understand the calculations

You don't have to be a math whiz to agree how to divide costs. Some parents agree to track shared expenses and settle reimbursements monthly, quarterly or annually. Still others may have running tallies they settle at their own convenience.

You may want to impose certain thresholds for shared expenses, say $100. Spending anything over that amount must be decided mutually by the parents or the parent incurring the expense on behalf of the child agrees to absorb it entirely.

Keep the kids out of it

No child should ever be party to parents fighting over money spent on the kids or hear one parent wheedling or cajoling the other to pay their share. Conduct these conversations out of the kids' earshot or have them online through SMS messages or email.

If your situation becomes untenable, it may eventually have to be resolved in the courtroom.

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