As a professional in the field of divorce support, this is a sentence I often read and hear: How much maintenance should I pay?
The legal implications state that it is the duty of parents to support their children.
For many parents it is a given, yet for many others, once a divorce/separation is on the table, supporting their children becomes a debate as to whether their children need as much, post separation, as they did before.
While it is a legal obligation, I personally struggle with the shift some parents experience in their roles and responsibilities towards their children when going through a separation.
I have yet to meet people who have become parents who have properly worked through a financial plan for raising their children. Sure, some parents open a college fund, but for the most part, it’s about making a plan, as they go along, regardless if parents are wealthy or just making ends meet. Having children is their pride and joy first and foremost and expenses that come with parenting will be met with extra work, sacrifices and finding solutions to offer their kids the best life they can offer them.
Comes a separation and suddenly their children get pinned a price tag which becomes an inconvenience, an undesirable expense and a constraint for which neither parents want to make sacrifices for.
Even though maintenance is the children’s right and the parents’ obligation, both parents need to move forward with the understanding that a separation comes at a cost which will need to be assessed thoughtfully. That there are added costs when one home becomes two and that some sacrifices will have to be considered, but in the midst of those added costs, children will still have to go to school, be clothed, be fed, be cared for and this ought not to be seen differently.
So, instead of focusing on the duty to maintain, consider what it is that your children need. Consider that your separation is not their separation and mostly, consider what the message of your court battles will send to your children about how much inconvenience they caused their parents for what they needed, growing up. This does not account for desirable childhood memories.
Children are an investment, not an expense and the Law doesn’t raise children, parents do!
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