Talking about money when you have children
Sorting out your finances during or after a break-up can be really tough. But you’ll need to talk to your ex about money when you have children together.
These “dos and dont’s” will hopefully help you to talk about money with your child’s other parent:
- Be realistic. If you’ve recently separated, you and the other parent are probably both going to need to make adjustments to your lifestyles.
- Keep the focus on your child. Think about what they need, and how you and their other parent can both contribute.
- Try and be flexible. Both your financial situations will probably change again, so if you’re willing to compromise now, it will be easier to change things in the future.
- Jump to conclusions about the other parent’s financial situation.
- Burden your child with money worries or argue about money in front of them.
- Use your children as messengers it can cause them to feel stuck in the middle.
- Ignore money problems or worries– organisations such as the Money Advice Service and Citizens Advice are there to help you.
Money is one of the biggest causes of conflict for parents who live apart. There’s often less to go round, which can lead to stress, resentment and arguments.
Plus, it can be tempting to use money to get revenge for any wrongdoing you feel has taken place, whether it be stopping payments or trying to ‘hit them where it hurts’.
But conflict can be really harmful to children. So it’s important that you do your very best to make financial arrangements that take care of everyone in your separated family, and try to do it in a reasonable way.
It’s really important to make arrangements for your children as soon as possible to keep things stable for them.
When you’re thinking about how you can both support your children, you may find it useful to work out a budget so you, your children and your children’s other parent have enough money to live on. For more about this, see our information on budgeting and using a budget planner.
One of the big things to sort out is child maintenance. Many parents find it easier and more flexible to arrange child maintenance themselves, through a family-based arrangement. If that’s not possible, you can make a statutory arrangement through the Child Maintenance Service.
Hopefully, you’ll find that working out the finances helps you take the first step towards building a good parenting relationship together. It’ll help your children to know that mum and dad are creating a secure financial future for them. Many parents find parenting plans are a useful tool to agreeing arrangements and co-parenting together.
Where can I go next?
Money Advice Service- Taking control of debt
Useful information on how to deal with and manage debt from the Money Advice Service.
Citizens Advice- Debt and Money
Information to help you deal with your debt problems, how to avoid losing your home and how to get your finances back into shape.
Child Maintenance Options- What is child maintenance
Information from Child Maintenance Options, providing impartial information and support to help both parents make informed choices about child maintenance.