EVERY parent has a financial obligation to their children under age 18, according to the Maintenance Act of 2005. Yet more and more women have to be hauling men before the courts for failing to fulfil their financial obligations to their children, and the men often complain that child support costs are exorbitant in a system abused by mothers who often don't spend all the money on the children.
With no clear solution to the problem, life and relationship coach and author of Mayhem Mirth And Mastery: Memoirs Of Single Parenting Caleen Diedrick has proposed how parents who have separated can successfully manage the financial affairs of their children without feeling that they are so desperate they need to have the matter resolved in court.
“Those parents who are separated and are taking care of the financial obligations of their children are a beautiful indicator that co-parenting is very doable without the intervention of the courts,” Diedrick told All Woman.
She reasoned that this aspect of parenting becomes achievable when parents recognise that their inability to keep their union together shouldn't affect the keep and care of their offspring.
“Its success requires that both parents are mature, understandable and are ready to stand in the gap for each other should the need arise in the best interest of their children,” Diedrick advised.
How exactly will they achieve this? Diedrick shares tried and proven tips below.
Prepare a budget for your children
“It is very important for parents to create a budget for their children. That includes all the monthly expenditures outside of regular expenditures like food, extracurricular activities, school fees and books,” Diedrick advised. Along with these expenses, she said that parents should also include babysitting fees and medical expenses.
Decide on the financial contribution of each parent
The general recommendation is to split the bills equally. However, Diedrick said that parents should also be open to creating an arrangement that both of them consider to be reasonable.
Set aside some savings
With children, unexpected expenditures may sometimes come into play. When this happens parents want to be prepared to cover these expenses so that parents are not caught off guard.
“This is why an integral part of the budgeting process is allocating funds towards savings. This will ensure that at all times there is some money for miscellaneous expenditures,” Diedrick said.
Maintain a good relationship
Keep the line of communication open and amicable. It makes engaging the other parent about any topic much easier.
“It is possible to reduce some of the expenditures if it is that a parent is open to sitting in or standing in the gap for the next parent. So, for example, one parent has to fly overseas, instead of having to arrange for a 24-hour live-in babysitter for the child, if there is a good relationship between both parents then the other parent could easily assume responsibility for the child in the other's absence.“
Bear in mind a parent may experience some financial hardships
Be mindful that there may be occasions where one parent might have difficulty meeting their financial obligations.
“It is necessary to be flexible and understanding during those times. The parent [who is still able to provide] should also take into consideration if this time is protracted so it might be six months or maybe even a year or so if the parent lost his or her major source of income,” Diedrick said.
Show your support in other ways
A parent who is unable to contribute financially should make him or herself available to accommodate requests made by the other parent for the child.
“For example, he or she should consider spending more time with the child, taking full responsibility for picking up the child from school, keeping the child when the other parent has to work, or any other way that you can relieve the other parent who now has to bear all the financial burdens of the child.”