Since you have devoted much of your adult life to being a mom, you say to yourself, “Naturally, I will get the kids.”
There are never any guarantees this will happen. More and more often, fathers are asking and receiving joint custody of the children. Sometimes this means hiring a nanny to help with the care of the children when they are with him, or his parents are helping with the care. This means less money to the ex-spouse for child support. At the same time, it means you have time to pursue outside work and further education – in other words, develop a career plan. Often the replacement nanny could be earning more than the ex-spouse does in her first post-divorce job.
The courts are getting more involved in determining what arrangements are in the bet interests of the children as they relate to child custody, support, and visitation arrangements. In many states divorcing parties are required to file a temporary parenting plan with the petition for divorce as well as an order for temporary child support. A permanent order is filed with the final decree. The child support needs to be reviewed periodically to adjust for rising costs and a change of circumstances. A number of states have standard guidelines to use in determining the amount of child support required from each parent to maintain the care of dependent children. Talk to your attorney or Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) to find out how child support is determined in your state.
Start EARLY by carefully organizing the facts and figures about your post divorce life – be very detailed with comprehensive notes about your lifestyle. And remember, there is only so much money to go around so compromises will be in order for all members of the family.
See Chapter 7 “The Budget Process” in my recent book Fair Share Divorce for Women: The Definitive Guide to a Winning Solution to get organized and get the best results possible.