Should divorced parents put child care matters into writing?

Divorce is always a complicated matter. When children are involved, it’s even more so. Divorced parents have to deal with everything from child support to determining who pays for each year’s set of new school clothes.

CNBC recently covered the complications that children can bring to a divorce in a special report. Experts quoted in the story indicated that the best way to defuse even the most complex child-centered issues is for divorced parents to put everything regarding their sons and daughters in writing. That way, surprises — and arguments — can be avoided.

For instance, divorced parents should try to agree in writing to such matters as curfew and time spent on the Internet/playing video games so that their children receive consistent messages whether they’re staying at mom’s or dad’s house.

“If you’ve got a 3-year old, when they’re 16 they’ve got driver’s ed, auto insurance, or the prom … or let’s go a bit farther, college applications are like $250 a pop, and who’s going to pay for the child traveling to go see those colleges?” said Lili Vasileff, president of the National Association of Divorce Financial Planners. “It’s up to the parents to discuss how to address those costs. Leaving it open results in a lot of misunderstanding, miscommunication and acrimony.”

It’s important to note, however, that some issues are more complex and will merit a more substantial dialogue. The CNBC story points to the case of children with attention deficit disorder. Some people argue that medication is the right approach to treating this disorder. Others disagree and say that such children shouldn’t rely on medication to control their disability.

Raising children, of course, can prove challenging for all parents, whether divorced or married. The key in all families is for mom and dad to be consistent when it comes to raising their children. And the best way for divorced parents to do this is by putting everything they can think of that relates to how their children should be raised in writing.

Stay tuned for more from our Ft. Worth family law blog …

To learn more about divorce, child custody, child support or post-divorce issues, contact an experienced and skilled legal professional.

This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.


CNBC, “How to provide for the kids post-divorce,” Elizabeth Alterman, May 7, 2012