Not only will you have to find another place to live and then move in (unless you’re the one who’s staying in the family home), you will also need to purchase new beds, desks (if the children are older) and wardrobes, as well as many other items. In short, splitting up and co-parenting can be expensive. Not to worry though. Here are a few handy tips to help you make co-parenting a success, all while saving a little bit of money in the process.
Although you don’t need to be on the same street, living in the same neighbourhood or town would definitely make things easier. Children need to grow up in a stable environment. Seeing their parents splitting up and having to put up with all of the changes that occur in their lives can make the situation hard to accept. Sticking to the same routine as much as possible (for instance, going to the same school, seeing the same friends and doing the same activities) is vital for their continued well-being.
If you decide to co-parent with your ex, it’s best to minimise the distance between the two households as much as possible. Not only will the children spend less time in the car (and therefore have more time for enjoying other, more rewarding activities), this will also allow you to cut the cost of petrol or bus tickets.
Find the best shared custody arrangement
When deciding to break up or divorce, you need to make sure to sit down with your former partner and agree on a shared custody arrangement. If you want to spend an equal amount of time with the children, you might consider one week with Mum and one week with Dad, for instance. Choosing which arrangement is best is complicated, as you have to take into consideration not only your children’s age, personality and their routine (school, extra-curricular activities), but also your own schedule and that of your co-parent.
While ensuring that your children’s welfare remains always your top priority, planning well and opting for the right arrangement can actually allow you to save money. For instance, if you choose the option “two days with Mum, two days with Dad, and then alternate every weekend”, you will end up making lots of round trips, which will cost you more in petrol. Organising more efficiently can help you to avoid these excess costs.
Make your co-parent your babysitter
The good thing with co-parenting is that you already have a free sitter. Agree with your co-parent to babysit for each other when needed. This can be a particularly practical arrangement, should you perhaps have an unexpected appointment arise while you have custody of the kids. Don’t make it a habit, though, if you want to preserve a happy and respectful relationship with your ex.
Also, if you share parenting, it means that you have lots of time for yourself without the children. Enjoy this free time to go out and see your friends or get all your important stuff done! This way, you won’t need to call a babysitter or your co-parent.
Take note of the expenses
Raising kids in two households can be quite expensive, as you need to purchase certain things twice. However, it is possible to cut the costs and continue to share certain expenses, for instance, transport fees or violin lessons. Treat yourself to a little notepad where you will record all of the joint spendings. Accept that your co-parent provides things that you can’t offer and be willing to do the same in return when possible.
The importance of communication when it comes to maintaining a healthy relationship with your co-parent
A separation is often hard to accept and feelings like anger can hang around for a long time. However, never show these negative emotions to your children and never badmouth your co-parent in front of them. You need to continue to have a respectful relationship with your ex. This is an absolute necessity for your kids who love you both equally.
It’s also important that you keep an open dialogue with your co-parent, in order to make the best decisions and continue to ensure your kids’ well-being. Keep updated when your children are with your ex and then return the favour when roles are reversed. Having a little chat with your co-parent will also help you to understand him or her more, and maybe, eventually to let your resentment go. This might be useful when you’ll come to ask them for help, for instance, with money or another service.
Finally, instead of waiting in the car when you pick up your children at their dad’s (or mum’s), why not go to the door and spend a little while with your co-parent? It’s the perfect opportunity to talk and catch up on what’s going on with your children.
Don’t miss out on future posts like this – receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address here and hitting subscribe. You can also follow me on Twitter, BlogLovin or Networked Blogs and I’d love to see you over on my Facebook page and on Instagram.