If you and your spouse will be co-parenting your children in two different households after your divorce (as most divorced co-parents do), you need to be prepared for added expenses. That’s true whether you’re sharing custody 50/50 or one of you will have primary custody and the other has visitation rights. These expenses should be detailed in your child support agreement to prevent conflict and confusion.
Even if you both continue to live in the Phoenix area, you may still rack up some hefty gasoline bills if you exchange your children fairly often. That may be something to factor into each of your budgets.
Regardless of whether your two homes are on opposite ends of the city or across the country, there are some items that you should have available for your kids in both houses. Kids have a greater sense of belonging in their non-custodial parent’s home if they don’t have to pack up everything they need and love and bring it with them each time they visit.
It’s likely not feasible to keep two sets of clothing, electronics and sports equipment at each home. However, if kids can count on some favorite toys, books and daily essentials like toiletries to be in their non-custodial parent’s home ready and waiting for them, they’ll feel less like a guest. Parents should determine what items they’re going to buy duplicates of and factor the cost into their budget.
If you and your co-parent aren’t living within easy driving distance, it’s crucial to determine how your children will be traveling back and forth (assuming that the parent who moves away doesn’t come to visit them instead). This may mean determining the cost of airline tickets for the kids (and any parent or adult who may be accompanying them). You can generally save money and headaches if you make the travel plans well in advance and use online services that help you find the cheapest flights.
You and your spouse probably can’t anticipate all of the additional child-rearing expenses you’ll have as divorced parents. However, your Arizona family law attorney can help you factor in as many as possible as you determine your parenting time arrangements and work out your child support agreement.