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Finances…it’s a top stressor even for married couples. As divorced co-parents…oh, boy.

But even if your finance conversations are stressful or contentious now, don’t despair! This post will show you the steps to – even as a co-parent – find clarity, teamwork, and peace of mind!

First: Get your own finances in order.

Figure out your current income, expenses, debts, and assets (items of value). Start tracking them if you aren’t already. This will give you context for any discussions and negotiations with your co-parent. Otherwise, it’s easy to drift into fighting just for the upper hand.

Second: Share your big-picture vision for your children, and invite your co-parent to do the same.

If you don’t know where to start, ask yourself how you want your kids to feel. I’ll bet you two are more “on the same page” than you’d expect.

Third: Consider what overall actions would best support those visions.

This might involve some research, calculation, or consulting an expert…all of which is great!

Fourth: Use everything you’ve learned in Steps 1-3 to form an overall plan for jointly supporting your kids.

This will avoid seemingly random financial requests, which otherwise can be a real stressor.

Some more recommendations for creating the plan:

  • Set regular plan check-ins, i.e. monthly or quarterly.
  • Decide how often or when you want to revisit the plan, i.e. annually; when someone loses a job; when someone gets a raise; etc.
  • Consider using a (free) app like Splitwise to simplify shared child-related expenses.
  • Get clear about what you consider shared expenses. For example, health care, private school, and extracurriculars are probably shared. Streaming movies? Probably not.

Implementing your plan can be a challenge. Here are some ways to make it easier on everyone.

  • Know that there will be bumps in the road. Life never goes exactly to plan, and finances are no exception.
  • Keep conflict away from the kids. This is good for them but also removes the chances to use their presence to shut down an important talk.
  • Don’t criticize each other’s non-joint choices about finances unless and until they’re clearly affecting your co-parent’s ability to fulfill their part of the plan.
  • Bring compassion and forgiveness for yourself and your co-parent. Remember that it’s okay if and when complex emotions creep in. These things are hard.

Finally, if you’re having a hard time handling these conversations on your own, consider bringing in a mediator like Alice Shikina.

What did you take away from this post? I’d love to hear!

By the way: do you have friends dealing with financial anxiety, overwhelm, or fighting who want to make it work? Then please share my info with them! Here’s what to know:

I’m Adam Kol, The Couples Financial Coach. I help couples go from financial overwhelm, anxiety, or fighting…to financial clarity, teamwork, and peace of mind.

I’m a Certified Mediator and former Financial Advisor with a law degree from Duke and a Master’s in Tax Law from NYU. I also host the Couples Financial Coach Podcast. Basically, I think about relationships and money all day long.

See, financial stress is a top cause of divorce. And I have personal experience with divorce — the hardest time in my life. Yet, there’s so little support for couples dealing with financial stress!

With my background, I saw the chance to make a big impact. And in fact, my clients have:

  • Gone even from the verge of divorce back to being best friends.
  • Negotiated big raises and paid off tons of debt.
  • Combined finances, reopened businesses, and purchased dream homes.
  • Funded weddings, realized they could fulfill their dream of adoption and more.

I do this by helping couples to:

  • Create trust & safety around money talks;
  • Understand their own + their partner’s relationship with money;
  • Clarify their key goals and current financial situation.
  • As a team, come up with a joint vision for Financial Prosperity;
  • Make a plan to achieve those goals, and finally;
  • Execute the plan and make their goals a reality!

I’m also an experienced social justice advocate and lifelong musician. You can find my Personal Finance Parodies on YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram!

I’d love to help any way I can, so book a complimentary Financial Harmony Consultation today! You’ll identify the key roadblocks to your financial harmony + the steps to overcome them!

~Adam Kol, J.D., The Couples Financial Coach