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Do Maryland parents know the costs associated with child custody?

There are many costs associated with divorce for Maryland parents. When determining child custody, there are several other things that must be agreed upon. Child support as well as many other nuances like health care and insurance coverage must be addressed. Some sources recommend that parents consider the longer term costs associated with raising children before the legal aspects of divorce ensue. Doing so, along with getting a head start at co-parenting, may help build a stable family unit for the divorce process and beyond.

When parents really look into the costs associated with raising their children, they may be surprised at what they find. Sources recommend that parents look back over the past year and itemize the expenditures for their children. This will help them get a firm understanding, before child support arrangements are made, of just how much it costs to raise their children. After divorce, parents must adjust to a new budget, which means that understanding how much of their income goes to their children can help them understand how the child support arrangement should be negotiated.

It is also recommended that parents examine their budgets based on an individual parent household. Doing so may allow parents to determine whether they will be able to maintain the current lifestyle of the children once the divorce is final. Parents also may want to consider insurance and medical expenses before the divorce is final. Determining who will claim the children on their insurance, as well as who pays any out-of-pocket expenses is important.

While a divorce may change one's title of spouse, it does not change the title of parent. Parents may benefit from looking at their divorce and child custody arrangement and finances through the lens of what is best for their children. Because parents will most likely have to communicate and make decisions together for years to come, deciding many of the financial aspects of raising the children early in the divorce process can smooth things out later. Maryland parents who feel that they are would like help making these important decisions with their spouse may benefit from considering options such as a mediator, which can provide objective guidance and support throughout the divorce process.

Source: Fox Business, "Managing Finances Through a Divorce," Andrea Murad, Sept. 28, 2012

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