Divorce means the end of a marriage. It doesn’t mean the end of your relationship with your ex if you have young children. The two of you will be part of each other’s lives as co-parents until your children become adults. You’ll likely have to interact on occasion after that point as well, especially when it comes to agreeing on activities and discussing expenses relating to your children.
How to Ask for Kid-Related Reimbursements
You and your ex will need to agree on the best way for you to ask for kid-related reimbursements. There is no one method that is going to work best for everyone, and you can change your method when it no longer works for you.
- Ask your Ex About Communication Method Preference. One thing you and your ex will need to get on the same page about is how you’re going to communicate about this important topic. The two of you will need to decide whether you want to discuss expenses by phone, email, text or in person. If you can agree on one method and you need to confirm an understanding later, it’s easier to search through one contact method rather than trying to figure out whether the expense was discussed by phone, text or email.
- Be Clear About What Each Requested Reimbursement is For. The parent who is being asked to pay for expenses may become frustrated if it isn’t clear what the money being requested is for. Provide a receipt, either a hard copy or an electronic version, eliminate any confusion. (Always keep a copy of your receipt for yourself.)
- Ask for the Payment. When you’re communicating with your ex, always provide a copy of the receipt for the expense. Then ask for reimbursement for whatever your ex is expected to pay for the expense. “Your share of [name of child’s] [expense] is [$X].”
Before you ask for payment, check your divorce agreement or court order to confirm whether expenses should be split equally or there is another percentage for reimbursement in effect. You should also find out whether you have been directed to communicate with your ex on a monthly basis or as the expenses come up.
Include a cover letter requesting reimbursement for the expense if you are going to see your ex. You can also write it directly on the invoice. (Scan it so that you keep a copy for your own records.)
How to Organize your Kid-Related Expenses
Naturally, you’ll want to keep track of your kid-related expenses, especially if your ex is responsible for a portion of them. You’ll need this information to help you stay on track, as well as to prove to the court that your ex hasn’t paid for expenses as agreed or required by court order. There are a number of ways to stay organized, ranging from low-tech to expense apps.
- Binder and Tabs. If you’re looking for a simple, easy way to keep track of your kid-related expenses that is low-tech as well, buy a binder and some tabs. You’ll also need a three-hole punch or some clear plastic holders that will fit a binder.
Label your tabs to show which invoices are waiting to be sent to your ex, which ones have been sent and are unpaid and which ones have been paid. You simply move the invoice between the tabs as the status changes. Keep the most recent invoices at the front or back of the tab so you can find them easily.
- Spreadsheet. A spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel or Mac Numbers will allow you to set up a spreadsheet to track your expenses. It can calculate the amounts both you and your ex are supposed to pay. You can input the amount, refer to the invoice by date and amount and include a description.
You can even use this data to create your own invoice/reminder that you can send to your ex by email. Once you have received payment, you can update your records quickly and easily. You can send the reminder every month or every few months.
- Use a Mobile App. There are several mobile apps to help you with kid-related reimbursements. These mobile apps are examples only, and Rodríguez Family Law makes no recommendations about using them. Readers are cautioned to do their own due diligence before choosing to use a mobile app for any purpose.
Our Family Wizard is a “co-parenting communication tool” that includes an expense log to keep track of receipts and payments. This app also features a calendar, a secure message board for you and your ex and a virtual journal.
Two Houses was developed to help separated couples communicate for the sake of their children. It helps you and your ex manage your expenses, organize your schedules, share school and medical information, photos and more.
SupportPay helps you track kids’ expenses and keep certified receipts of payments. Your ex can pay online or you can record payments received in cash or by check manually. Communication about payment is done through the app; your ex gets a notification that a “bill” is due for payment.
Asking for reimbursement for kids’ expenses is one of the challenges of divorce. You’ll need help from an experienced family law attorney to get through this stressful life experience. Let Rodríguez Family Law provide the professional advice you need. Call us at 862-241-1228 or send us an email today to arrange your personal consultation.