How to split your child’s wedding costs with your ex‐spouse

Don’t let this tricky situation ruin the big day

Jaimie Mackey was the real weddings editor at Brides from 2013 to 2015. She also worked as a luxury wedding planner and produced over 100 high-end weddings and events in Colorado


How to split your child's wedding costs with your ex‐spouse

Having divorced parents can be challenging, and getting engaged (and planning a wedding!) can bring up all sorts of complications you may not yet have faced. It’s an emotional time for everyone involved, and wedding planning also includes a lot of conversations about a topic that can make many people feel uncomfortable: money. If you know your parents are planning to pay for your wedding, but they’re not sure how to address splitting the bill now that they’re no longer married to one another, you’re in luck. We turned to an expert for a little advice that will help you navigate this sticky situation.

How Should the Bride-To-Be Begin the Conversation With Her Divorced Parents?

“Begin the conversation by being as open and honest as possible,” says Kimberly Foss, certified financial planner and president of Empyrion Wealth Management. “Clear communication with both parents is of the utmost importance.” Before the conversation even starts, ask both of your parents to keep a key detail in mind: “Your parents need to remember that this wedding is about their child, not their own feelings about the divorce,” she says. “Just as responsible parents should try to help children understand that the divorce was not the children’s fault, they should do all they possibly can to put aside any hurts, grievances, and resentment toward their ex-spouse and focus on making their child’s day the best it can be.”

Meet the Expert

Kimberly Foss is a certified financial planner, certified private wealth advisor, and the founder and president of Empyrion Wealth Management. She is the best-selling author of “Wealthy by Design.”

Once you’ve set the tone, have a candid conversation with each parent individually about your hopes and plans for the wedding. Advises Foss: “Use what you know of your parents’ current relationship—whether amicable, distantly polite, acrimonious, or what-have-you—to prepare yourself; then explain to each parent what you will need from them. Before you even discuss money, emphasize that you hope and expect that they will do whatever possible to make the wedding—and your marriage—a success. Then, if you do need help paying for the wedding, put that information on the table and ask your parents to help you determine what sort of budget you will have to work with, what they each would like to pay for, and any tasks (from dress shopping to choosing a band) you’d like them to help you with.”

Be as specific as you can about what you need and expect from each parent—there will be less room for unfounded assumptions, turf battles, and hurt feelings.

What Are Some Tips for Deciding Who Pays for What?

Again, it’s all about open communication. “Ideally, the parents are able to communicate on wedding finance between themselves and work out a mutually acceptable arrangement,” says Foss. “But if that isn’t possible, then you should speak with the parents in question to find out what they can or are willing to contribute toward the cost of the wedding. From there, adjust and allocate your budget according to your parents’ wishes.”

Should the Parents Split Costs 50/50 or Contribute Based on Their Own Income or Savings?

“The amount each parent contributes will vary based on the situation and the capabilities of those involved,” Foss explains. “If your parents are unable to communicate amicably, you should go to them separately to find out what each believes they can contribute to the event costs. In the event that one parent has greater resources than the other, there may be an expectation that that parent will bear a larger share of the expenses, but don’t make any assumptions! Instead, the actual division of contributions should be based on what each parent is willing to contribute, no matter what their resources may be.”

Should the Parent Who Contributes More Have More Say or Get More Guests?

No matter how much each of your divorced parents is contributing to your wedding budget, the dollar amount does not give them any more say as you are planning your wedding (operative word being your). “To return to the theme mentioned above, this wedding is about you, your partner, and your wishes, and is not a competition between your divorced parents,” says Foss. “The goal of the parents should be that their child’s wedding occurs in a fashion as close as possible to how it would have if the divorce had not occurred. This means that the division of guests should be based on what is fair and equitable with respect to the child and their relationships with extended family members, not in order to maintain some sort of ‘quota’ for the parents.” The same goes for influence on any other details of the wedding day: Your parents should be involved as much as you would like them to be, but should not expect to have more influence because they provided more funds.

In this article

  • Focus on Your Child’s Best Interests
  • Communicating With Your Ex About Paying for a Child’s Wedding
  • Put Your Feelings Toward Each Other Aside
  • Planning Ahead for Your Children’s Weddings

When parents get a divorce, their child support agreement generally addresses immediate basic expenses and may involve expenses for school, child care, medical care, and extracurricular activities. Parents might also determine how they will divide college expenses when the time comes.

But what isn’t usually addressed in a child support agreement is what happens when your child gets married. Who pays for the rehearsal dinner? What does the groom’s family pay for and does it change if the parents are divorced?

If you are a parent who wants to help pay for your child’s wedding, you may face a few different situations:

  • Your ex-partner does not want to help pay
  • Your child doesn’t want financial help because your ex would feel obligated to help
  • You and your ex want to contribute equally
  • You want to give more or less than your ex
  • One parent has remarried, and the stepparent also wants to contribute
  • One child already received a certain amount for their wedding, but now things are different financially

Discussing who’s going to pay for what in a wedding can put kids, parents, and blended families in an awkward position to negotiate the wedding finances. Or your child may get stuck talking to each parent separately — particularly if the divorce hasn’t been an amicable one — to ask for financial help.

Focus on Your Child’s Best Interests

The important thing for both parents to remember is to put your child’s interests first. Avoid arguing over who will pay more or belittling your ex for not contributing enough.

Usually, parents pay for wedding costs based on their ability to do so. It’s easier for brides and grooms-to-be to put a wedding budget in place if they know how much each parent can afford to chip in.

Communicating With Your Ex About Paying for a Child’s Wedding

It’s best, of course, if parents can communicate with each other and work out how much they can and will pay for together. This can allow your child to focus on all of the other parts of the wedding planning.

Your financial contribution does not need to be equal to your ex’s contribution. Do what feels right to you. You also don’t have to stick with traditional rules that dictate the groom’s family paying for the rehearsal dinner and the bride’s family paying for the wedding. Nowadays, it isn’t out of the ordinary for the groom and bride to pay for the wedding themselves. Still, it’s best to discuss a plan with your ex and the bride and groom.

Put Your Feelings Toward Each Other Aside

If financial questions arise (such as your ex contributing large amounts of money that they previously did not have) and the divorce was recent, it may be wise to speak with your attorney.

But otherwise, it’s best to attempt to put your feelings and your past together aside. Beyond the division of expenses comes the division of labor and participation in the planning. Sometimes divorced parents believe that if they are paying the most, they should have a bigger say in the wedding decisions. That shouldn’t be the case unless it’s something the bride and groom are comfortable with. The couple should determine the roles they’d like each parent to play in the wedding, including who pays for what.

Planning Ahead for Your Children’s Weddings

Planning for a wedding can be an extremely stressful time for the whole family. For divorced parents, it can bring up all sorts of feelings, positive and negative, that may have been buried for years. Put any residual feelings of animosity aside so your children can enjoy their wedding activities without worrying that their big day will be marred by bickering between their parents.

If you suspect a future wedding being an issue, you can include something in your divorce agreement regarding your kids’ weddings. You can also update your parenting plan to do so, even if weddings may not take place for a long time. Your family law attorney can provide guidance on the best ways to plan for the future.

The Ceremony

Formal seating at a wedding ceremony is fairly formulaic, however, with divorced parents and stepfamilies, it can become tricky. It is a good idea to determine when and where everyone will be seated in advance to prevent any last minute confusion.

Except in unusual cases, the bride’s mother is always the last person to be seated before the ceremony, and the first to be ushered out. If parents are on good terms, ushered seating may follow the traditional order: groom’s grandparents, bride’s grandparents, groom’s mother and father, bride’s mother. The bride’s stepfather would accompany the bride’s mother unless he will be the one escorting the bride down the aisle. The bride’s father can sit in the second or third pew with his spouse or relatives after he escorts the bride down the aisle. If the bride’s stepfather will be escorting her, the bride’s father and his companion should be escorted to their seats after the grandparents and before the bride’s mother.

If the bride is close to her stepmother, her stepmother may be seated just after the bride’s grandparents. If a stepparent is controversial, he or she might not be formally ushered in, but be seated early in the pew reserved for his or her spouse. In extreme cases where a parent’s companion would cause a great deal of tension, he or she may be seated with the other guests, or graciously decide not to attend the wedding at all.

If the groom’s parents are divorced, the above seating order can be followed, except that rather than be ushered in together, the groom’s father would follow behind his ex-wife as she is ushered in and out. The groom’s mother would sit in the front pew, while his father would sit in the second or third pew. All parties would be accompanied by their dates or spouses unless there is controversy or they are involved in the ceremony.

Giving The Bride Away
Who will walk a bride down the aisle? This is often the greatest dilemma with divorced parents. If you are close to your father, this may not be an issue, but if you are not, there are other alternatives.

If you were raised by your stepfather, it would be perfectly appropriate to bestow this honor on him. On the other hand, if you are close to your mom and dad, you can ask them both to escort you down the aisle. Perhaps both your father and stepfather deserve the honor — in that case, they can both escort you. You may also have your beloved grandfather or brother do the honors. It’s up to you. Whatever you decide, let your father know in advance.

Some brides walk themselves down the aisle, while others are escorted by the groom. Go with your gut on this. Whatever you choose will be right.

The Reception

Receiving Line
Many couples are eliminating the receiving line altogether, but if you plan to have one, the general rule is that whoever is hosting the reception stands in the receiving line. For example, if the bride’s mother and stepfather are hosting, they would stand together in line, and the bride’s father would be a guest (not in the receiving line). Divorced parents should not stand together in a receiving line.

Both of your parents will want to sit in places of honor at your wedding reception, but neither should sit at the bridal table. Rather, each parent should host his or her own table. Make sure that any divorced parents are not sitting at tables too close to one another. Giving them space will allow them to feel relaxed and enjoy themselves.

Bridal Dances
To avoid the awkward situation of a DJ or bandleader announcing dances that probably shouldn’t occur, decide on the dances beforehand and inform the announcer of the way you’d like to proceed.

If you feel that your stepfather deserves the honor of the father/daughter dance, tell your father ahead of time what you are planning to do. If you like, you can dance with your father first; then mid-song, take your stepfather’s arm, thus honoring both men. For the “parent dance,” avoid hurting any feelings by having both parents and their spouses (if remarried) take the floor. If you think the entire dance scenario is going to cause grief, do away with it. Simply explain the situation to the bandleader or DJ ahead of time.

Be sensitive where photography is concerned. Talk to your photographer in advance about the situation, and let him/her know which family shots, as well as candid shots, you would like taken. While you may want family photos with both of your parents, former spouses may refuse to be in photographs together. Find out ahead of time what is acceptable for them.

If applicable, it is appropriate to include stepparents in some — but not all — wedding pictures. You are not obligated to include a parent’s casual girlfriend or boyfriend in any formal pictures.

Toasting may go on during the reception. Avoid any awkwardness by having the best man be the first to toast the bride and groom. Alternately, the first toast would go to the parent hosting the affair. If both parents are hosting, the bride’s father is usually the first parent to toast the new couple.

All of this may seem like a lot to consider, but take heart — you’re almost at the finish line. By thinking things through ahead of time, you should be able to avoid sticky situations. If your instincts are still screaming at you to run far away, you can always elope. But then again, you might not wear that incredible gown, eat that gorgeous triple-tiered butter cream wedding cake, or worst of all, share the happiest day of your life with the people who loved you first — your family.

How to split your child's wedding costs with your ex‐spouse

Whether it’s through marriage or cohabitation, there comes a point in most serious relationships when we start talking bank accounts and savings accounts, investment strategies and retirement plans. And the big question: Should couples split bills 50/50?

Here’s the thing: Life is complicated, and money is messy. You make more than they do. They have more debt than you do. You have student loans to pay; they have child support payments to keep up with. You’re joining lives, but combining assets might be the most complicated part of that exercise. Because while your relationship might be a 50/50 commitment, your money most likely is not. But by maintaining honest, open communication about your expenses and income, creating a plan that works for both of you despite your money baggage and being fixed on a shared goal, you can avoid the No. 1 reason relationships fail in the first place: fights about money.

In a study by Kansas State University, researchers found that arguing about money is “by far” the top predictor of whether a couple will get divorced. Those arguments tend to take longer to recover from and are more intense, researchers said. They also often last much longer than fights over the kids, sex or in-laws. So, whether you’re just moving to the financial part of your relationship or you’ve been charting the waters for a while, here’s how you can ensure fairness and avoid financial surprises.

What You Should Discuss

  1. Yours, Mine and Ours
  2. What If One Makes More?
  3. Deciding Who Pays for What
  4. Saving for the Future
  5. How to Invest
  6. Divvying Up Duties

Yours, Mine and Ours

In two-income couples, the easiest setup is to have individual accounts where both partners maintain their own assets but then have a joint account that both fund to pay shared expenses. It’s the least complicated way to share the financial burden of day-to-day expenses while maintaining financial independence, says Emily Sanders, managing director of United Capital Financial Advisers in Atlanta.

“We’ve worked with couples from age 22 to 92,” Sanders says. “And some of the most happily married couples I’ve seen are ones that kept their money separate for their entire marriage. It takes away some of the power and control issues that tend to be associated with how we use our money.”

A joint account requires transparency, mutual trust and shows a shared commitment toward a common goal. Sanders also recommends adding each other’s names to the apartment lease or house deed. This increases the equity in the relationship and avoids the “his house” or “her apartment” language. It’s yours together now, both the pleasure and the responsibility.

What If One Makes More?

Odds are that you and your partner will earn different salaries, and those amounts might vary wildly. So is it fair in that case to split the mortgage 50/50? No. “Fair doesn’t necessarily mean equal,” says Kelley Long, member of the National CPA Financial Literacy Commission.

Instead, Long says, do some math. Make a list of all your combined expenses: housing, taxes, insurance, utilities. Then talk salary. If you make $60,000 and your partner makes $40,000, then you should pay 60 percent of that total toward the shared expenses and your partner 40 percent. For instance, if the rent is $1,000, you pay $600 and your partner contributes $400.

To do this fairly and equitably, have both you and your partner set up a direct deposit from your individual accounts to the shared joint account for your agreed share of the expenses. And then review the bank statement each month for that account as well as the bills that are coming in. Change happens. The cable bill goes up; the gas bill is higher than expected. Be ready to adapt to changes and keep some money in reserve in your personal accounts to cover any unexpected overages.

Deciding Who Pays for What

In the simplest terms, your budget discussion starts with the question: What are our shared expenses? The mortgage, electric and gas bill are given. But then how do you handle her student loan payments? The loan for the car you bought way before you knew your partner? The balance on your credit card bill?

These are individual decisions, but solutions happen by talking this out. If your partner has a lot of debt, maybe you offer to help them out with the payments so they can set themselves free sooner, thus creating a shared goal. Or maybe you take on a larger percentage of the household expenses, thus freeing them to tackle their debt payments. If your partner insists on paying their bills by themself, maybe you can be the one to pay for the “fun” stuff from your personal account, such as dinners out, so as to ease the burden in other ways.

Saving for the Future

Your savings plan should be the result of a joint decision based on your long-term and short-term goals. Maybe your short-term goal is to take a vacation next year and your long-term goal is to buy a house. Make sure your partner not only knows about these plans, but is on board with them. When you’re both saving toward the same goal, you will get there faster.

Commit to a saving level you are both comfortable with and then deposit that amount in a joint savings account each month.

When you figure out how much you are both saving, don’t forget to take into account your 401(k) contributions, which are automatically deducted from your paycheck. If you are putting 5 percent in your 401(k) and your partner is only putting 2 percent, have a discussion about how you will both meet your retirement goals, and whether those contributions need to be modified.

How to Invest

You might want to be very aggressive in your investing while your partner is content to keep his money in a low-risk, low-interest-bearing, savings account. If that’s the case, sitting down with an investment adviser could be the best way to find middle ground, says Sanders. “You need to view your investments simultaneously to ensure that you’re not duplicating efforts and that your overall investment strategy is consistent and makes sense.“

Whether you seek outside help or not, you should both be aware of where your money is invested, how well those investments have done and have a shared plan for retirement. Do you dream of retiring at 55 but your spouse has been planning his retirement strategy on working long beyond that? Unless you communicate those issues you will have a surprise waiting for you at your retirement party (and not a good one).

Divvying Up Duties

Managing money isn’t just about figuring out how to share the expenses. It’s also about making sure the duties of money management are equally distributed. “I have without exception never met anyone where there wasn’t one partner being the money manager and the other just kind of knowing what’s happening,” says Long. “And it is easier to have one person do the tracking. But where it can be impractical is where one person maintains willful ignorance about how their habits are affecting the family finances.”

For that reason, Long recommends couples have regular money meetings. They can be weekly, monthly or quarterly, but regardless, the person who is in charge of paying the bills and managing the accounts shouldn’t be the only person who knows how much money there is, where it’s going and where it’s kept.

MORE: Try an app for couples

Co-managing money with your significant other can be one of the most stressful parts of a relationship. But these apps make managing money together easy.


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About to separate or are recently separated? Here are eleven expectations to demystify the crazy train you are about to board and help you navigate the process. Good luck!

1. You will be so afraid of the unknown that you will reason with yourself that even though you are miserable, you at least are comfortable enough that you can endure your unhappy marriage. You will try to convince yourself of this, although in your heart of hearts you know that it isn’t true. You will tell yourself lies and convince yourself that you shouldn’t split — for the kids, for financial reasons, etc. You will bargain with yourself because you are scared. Know that this is normal.

2. The rollercoaster and complexity of emotions you will feel when the decision is made to separate is unlike anything you have ever experienced. The grief, the pain, the confusion, the fear, the desperation of wanting to be loved after your spouse is gone. But even though you don’t know it, there is a weight that will slowly start to ease from your shoulders — the same weight that you denied all this time when you told yourself nothing was wrong.

3. Your self-esteem may shatter, and you will be desperate for love and validation. You will think that nobody will ever love you or want you again, and you may be tempted to to date immediately and latch on to the first person who pays attention to you. Resist this urge to attach yourself, even if you have not had that romantic touch or intimacy for a long time. Trying to fill that void with another relationship robs you of the chance to heal.

4. Although you may tell yourself that you’re fine, you will need a support system: a therapist, a support group, good friends, the non-judgmental anonymity of online forums. Whatever combination of systems you choose should help you attain two objectives–creating a safe place for venting, while also helping you find constructive ways to cope with the divorce in a healthy manner.

5. Once you and your spouse decide to split, you will feel like you are getting sprayed with an industrial fire hose. The number of “to-do’s” and “should-do’s” regarding emotions, finances, legal issues, custody, and other logistics will come at you with incredible urgency; you will feel paralyzed and overwhelmed. Understand that splitting is a process. Like any process, there are things to address immediately (safety, shelter, income), things to address a little bit later (understanding legal and custody issues, finding an emotional support system) and there are things to address longer-term (ensuring your separation agreement is something you can live with, making sure you and your children are adjusting). You will need to remind yourself that divorce is like a marathon and it requires patience and persistence. Save yourself the stress by accepting that not everything has to be done right now.

6. You will have no control over your spouse’s behavior. For serious offenses (threatening harm, cleaning out your savings account or wracking up debt on a joint credit card), you will absolutely need to take action. But there will also be annoyances that may not endanger you, but will anger you. It may seem like they are trying to make your life as miserable as they possibly can, which could result in a long, drawn-out, expensive, soul-sucking divorce for you if you let it. You will need to remember that although you can’t control their behavior, you can control how you react to it. Your decision to take the high road despite how they act is entirely up to you. Like most things during the split, it will be easier said than done.

7. You will be tempted to make certain divorce decisions that are driven by emotion, rather than driven by logic and handled in a business-like manner. You will constantly forget that divorce, boiled down, is a business transaction — a splitting of assets and incomes. The logical part of you will understand this, but the part of you that is hurt may spend months fighting over things that have nothing to do with business at all. During the legal process of divorce, you will be forced to choose your battles. Choose wisely. You will need to learn when to fight for the things that are rightfully yours, but also when to let other things go. You will need to learn that nobody wins in divorce. Otherwise, you will find yourself robbed of years of your life fighting in court, having spent tens of thousands of dollars on legal fees that could have been put to better use in your post-divorce life, and so emotionally distraught that moving on will be extremely difficult.

8. You will find yourself in new situations that make you uncomfortable. There are too many to mention here. You may be re-entering the workforce. Your budget may be tight.

9. Your children could have trouble adjusting. If your social life revolved around other married couples, this dynamic may seem miserable for you. You may find friends treating you differently, thinking for some reason your split means that their relationship is in jeopardy. Understand that you are not alone in all of these struggles, and that whatever you need — career help, financial advice, counseling, new opportunities for socialization — are out there. You owe it to yourself to research those resources. Do not allow any of this discomfort to make you bitter, or drive you into hiding.

10. In your times of despair, you will wallow in self-pity. You will break down frequently at the most inconvenient times and say to yourself, “My life was not supposed to be like this. I thought my marriage was perfect and we’d be together forever.” You will feel ashamed and feel like you are a failure. This is part of the grieving process, and you will need to learn how to balance it all: accepting that your circumstances changed, learning how to deal with those changed circumstances, and also learning how to heal and move on. You will need to learn that you are not a prisoner to those circumstances, and it is you who has the power to come out of this whole ordeal a stronger person.

11. You will learn that the split with your spouse has presented you with a choice and it is your decision alone how you handle it. You can choose to look at this split as a trauma from which you will never recover, and to be guided by anger and fear and not knowing what to do, or you can choose the path that takes more work — the path where you ask for assistance, get the support you need, educate yourself about every aspect of the divorce (and there are many), and understand that you will have the power to get through it all. The choice is yours.

Co-parenting after a separation or divorce is rarely easy. These shared custody tips can help give your children the stability, security, and close relationships with both parents that they need.

How to split your child's wedding costs with your ex‐spouse

What is co-parenting?

Unless your family has faced serious issues such as domestic violence or substance abuse, co-parenting—having both parents play an active role in their children’s daily lives—is the best way to ensure that all your kids’ needs are met and enable them to retain close relationships with both parents. The quality of the relationship between co-parents can also have a strong influence on the mental and emotional well-being of children, and the incidence of anxiety and depression. Of course, putting aside relationship issues, especially after an acrimonious split, to co-parent agreeably is sometimes easier said than done.

Joint custody arrangements can be exhausting, infuriating, and fraught with stress, especially if you have a contentious relationship with your ex-partner. You may feel concerned about your ex’s parenting abilities, stressed out about child support or other financial issues, feel worn down by conflict, or think you’ll never be able to overcome all the resentments in your relationship.

Making shared decisions, interacting with each other at drop-offs, or just speaking to a person you’d rather forget all about can seem like impossible tasks. For the sake of your kids’ well-being, though, it is possible for you to overcome co-parenting challenges and develop a cordial working relationship with your ex. With these tips, you can remain calm, stay consistent, and resolve conflicts to make joint custody work and enable your kids to thrive.

Making co-parenting work

The key to successful co-parenting is to separate the personal relationship with your ex from the co-parenting relationship. It may be helpful to start thinking of your relationship with your ex as a completely new one—one that is entirely about the well-being of your children, and not about either of you.

Your marriage may be over, but your family is not; acting in your kids’ best interest is your most important priority. The first step to being a mature, responsible co-parent is to always put your children’s needs ahead of your own.

Benefits for your children

Through your co-parenting partnership, your kids should recognize that they are more important than the conflict that ended your marriage—and understand that your love for them will prevail despite changing circumstances. Kids whose divorced parents have a cooperative relationship:

  • Feel secure. When confident of the love of both parents, kids adjust more quickly and easily to divorce and new living situations, and have better self-esteem.
  • Benefit from consistency. Co-parenting fosters similar rules, discipline, and rewards between households, so children know what to expect, and what’s expected of them.
  • Better understand problem solving. Children who see their parents continuing to work together are more likely to learn how to effectively and peacefully solve problems themselves.
  • Have a healthy example to follow. By cooperating with the other parent, you are establishing a life pattern your children can carry into the future to build and maintain stronger relationships.
  • Are mentally and emotionally healthier. Children exposed to conflict between co-parents are more likely to develop issues such as depression, anxiety, or ADHD.

Co-parenting tip 1: Set hurt and anger aside

Successful co-parenting means that your own emotions—any anger, resentment, or hurt—must take a back seat to the needs of your children. Admittedly, setting aside such strong feelings may be the hardest part of learning to work cooperatively with your ex, but it’s also perhaps the most vital.

Co-parenting is not about your feelings, or those of your ex-spouse, but rather about your child’s happiness, stability, and future well-being.

Separating feelings from behavior

It’s okay to be hurt and angry, but your feelings don’t have to dictate your behavior. Instead, let what’s best for your kids—you working cooperatively with the other parent—motivate your actions.

Get your feelings out somewhere else. Never vent to your child. Friends, therapists, or even a loving pet can all make good listeners when you need to get negative feelings off your chest. Exercise can also provide a healthy outlet for letting off steam.

Stay kid-focused. If you feel angry or resentful, try to remember why you need to act with purpose and grace: your child’s best interests are at stake. If your anger feels overwhelming, looking at a photograph of your child may help you calm down.

Don’t put your children in the middle

You may never completely lose all of your resentment or bitterness about your break up, but what you can do is compartmentalize those feelings and remind yourself that they are your issues, not your child’s. Resolve to keep your issues with your ex away from your children.

Never use kids as messengers. When you use your children to convey messages to your co-parent, it puts them in the center of your conflict. The goal is to keep your child out of your relationship issues, so call or email your ex directly.

Keep your issues to yourself. Never say negative things about your ex to your children, or make them feel like they have to choose. Your child has a right to a relationship with their other parent that is free of your influence.

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Because you have enough stress to deal with on your wedding day.

Sandy Malone is the owner of Sandy Malone Weddings & Events, a wedding planning service based in Maryland.


How to split your child's wedding costs with your ex‐spouse

Most parents aren’t “happily divorced,” and even if it was an amicable split, there’s bound to be some amount of tension in the room when they get together. Those formerly married couples you see on TV (you know the ones: all happily co-parenting and sharing their families and nobody minds) aren’t actually real.

That would be great, but it’s not reality for most couples who are trying to plan a wedding that is inclusive to their divorced parents, but still about themselves. Most blended and divorced families are worlds away from functioning pleasantly together, and when an important event like a wedding comes up, people get stressed out. Weddings are emotional experiences, and when you take all the baggage the formerly-married parents have, and add a little bit (or a lot) of alcohol, things can get awkward quickly.

The best way to avoid having things go off the rails on your big day is to address it with your parents in advance.

In some cases, parents who have been divorced a long time will tolerate each other quite well for the purposes of their child’s wedding. Some are even willing to share a pew. Others prefer to stick to Emily Post, and put Dad and his new wife or girlfriend in the second row. If your parents have been divorced for a long time, your wedding is probably not the first major occasion they’ve had to get through together, and the more siblings you have, the more they are likely to see each other. So, maybe all you have to do is confirm that everybody’s comfortable with however you’ve decided to seat them so there are no surprises on the big day.

For parents who are more recently divorced, things can be trickier. And there are a lot of brides and grooms with parents in this boat—it seems like lots of parents wait until their children are finished with college and off on their own to finally make the split. It makes sense that they’re still getting used to living as exes when engagements and weddings begin happening for their own children. The wedding may be the first time that the bride or groom’s parents have had to see each other since they signed the papers.

Sometimes, one parent is thrilled with being divorced, and the other is miserable. These are the most dangerous cases as it often leads to a scene at one of more of the wedding events. Especially if things are still fresh, and the happy parent has decided to bring a date to the wedding. That kicks everything up a notch, and can set the drama into full spin.

Try the following steps to get things under control for your divorced parents at your wedding, long before your wedding day:

  • Before things get out of control, make a plan to sit down with each of the divorced parents separately. Whether you include your fiancé depends entirely on the depth of their relationship with your parents. This is going to be an awkward conversation—will having your soon-to-be-spouse present make it better or worse? Use your best judgment.
  • Don’t try to have this conversation on the fly—do it when you have time to spend with them so they don’t feel like they’re not as important to you as they’re supposed to be.

Present your plans for your wedding day (seating, toasts, who is escorting whom, etc.) and find out if there’s anything that makes them uncomfortable.

If the divorce is really recent, and there was infidelity involved, consider asking the parent who cheated not to bring a date to the wedding if the person they’re involved with is the same one who broke up your parents’ marriage. Even if you’ve come to accept the person, your mother or father may not feel the same way.

It’s best to openly discuss this, and deal with it, as far in advance as possible, to avoid a blow-up in the weeks right before the wedding.

Be sure to give both parents equal billing at your wedding. If you’ve always been closer to your mom, or you were on your dad’s side, so to speak, in the divorce, you need to set it aside on your big day and treat them with equal attention and respect. Guests will notice if you don’t, and it will be embarrassing for everybody. Make both your parents feel included and loved on the most important day of your life so far.

How to split your child's wedding costs with your ex‐spouse

How to split your child's wedding costs with your ex‐spouse

I opened my email this morning to find this question from a reader. If I have proof that my ex is using my child as a pawn against me what should I do?

Dealing recently with a situation in which my ex has manipulated not only my child but a situation involving my child I can only reply with what I felt was best for me to do in such a situation.

I think it is important that as parents we refuse to play the game some angry ex spouses seem hell bent to play. I also know that as parents our first instinct is to fight for our children and fight fire with fire.

If you stop and think about it, fighting fire with fire only puts our children in the middle and makes them victims of a dispute between their parents.

When it comes to my son there is one thing I know for sure, he has been victimized enough. His father went five and one-half years with no contact with him. He was given ample opportunity to have a relationship with his son. I have emails I wrote him encouraging a relationship, my mother called him on two occasions and pleaded with him to give the boy some of his time.

On top of that there were four different therapists over the years that offered to work with him in a counseling setting to help rebuild his relationship with both his sons. He chose to stand back, do nothing and accuse me of parental alienation.

Now that he has his son in his life again he is withholding information from me. He is making decisions about our sons health that are damaging to our son and obstructing my ability to communicate with our son per a court order.

There was an incident recently and my first reaction was to hire an attorney, file a motion with the courts and do whatever I could to get my son back home and away from this person who I feel does not have my sons best interest in mind.

After talking to an attorney and writing a big check I came home and started thinking. I put my emotions to the side and put some thought into what another legal battle with his father would mean for our son. Someone who didnt want to go live with his father in the first place.

Over the last five months my son has been forced into a situation he didnt want to be in. He had to adjust to a new home and environment. He was pulled out of the school he had gone to for years and would have graduated from this year. He was pulled away from friends and family who had been a part of his life and comfort zone since the day he was born.

After thinking about it, I realized my son has been through enough. He has settled in with his father, is now back on his medication and the last thing he needs is more upheaval in his life and the stress of knowing his parents are battling each other legally.

When we see an ex doing something we feel is damaging to a child we need to be able to take a step back and put thought into what striking out at an ex will do to that child. Unless a child is in immediate danger of abuse and you fear for their safety my advice is to consider your childs needs first and not your need to make an example of an ex spouse.

I could have taken my ex to court and won. In the end, my son would have been the loser and I’m not willing to put him in that position just so I can win against my ex. I will continue to show my son that I love him, that he has a place to come if he ever wants to come home again.

You see, I know this much, children grow up, they become wiser and in the end they see clearly how their parents used them. The one thing I dont ever want my son to be able to say to himself was that I used him against his father.

At times, life puts us in the middle of situations that call for patience and the use of good common sense. If you are in such a situation with a child and an angry ex, just sit back and wait. Dont play the game and your child will one day realize who had their best interest in mind all along.

Update: Four months after this article was written my son turned eighteen. Shortly after that, he came home to me, his friends and the home he had known for ten years. He has attempted to communicate with his father but, his father doesn’t respond to emails or cell phone messages.

If you are about to get married soon and are looking for a simple Indian wedding cost calculator, then your search ends here. Read on to find out more.

How to split your child's wedding costs with your ex‐spouse

How to split your child's wedding costs with your ex‐spouse

How to split your child's wedding costs with your ex‐spouse

Hiring a wedding planner to help divide your wedding budget in the most suitable manner doesn’t come free. But did you know you can successfully manage your wedding budget on your own, without spending a dime or stressing out your parents? It’s time you tried WeddingWire’s Budget tool – an Indian wedding cost calculator. It is the most wedding-friendly and practical calculator available in the market.

If you’ve read our previous article on Ultimate Wedding Budget Tool Guide then you are already aware that WeddingWire India’s app and website offers a free budget calculator. Most weddings have two types of expenses: major expenses and minor expenses. While major expenses include the wedding venue, catering, decor, photography, wedding outfits and jewellery; minor expenses include invitations, makeup, guest accommodation, honeymoon and other miscellaneous expenses like Mehndi artists, DJ etc.

Understanding the Indian Wedding Cost Calculator:

To make your life simple, we have taken 3 categories of wedding budgets and have demonstrated how easy it is to manage your wedding budget with our budget tool.

Category 1: Up to ₹20 Lakh

Category 2: Up to ₹50 Lakh

Category 3: Up to ₹80 Lakh

CATEGORY 1: Up to 20 Lakh

How to split your child's wedding costs with your ex‐spouse

If your wedding budget’s upper limit is 20 Lakhs, according to our budget tool, venue and catering (13.5% and 23.4% respectively) take up the major share of the wedding budget.

Tip: Instead of choosing a venue in the heart of the city, we suggest you book a venue on the outskirts. This will help you save on costs.

Jewellery and other bridal outfits (17.6% and 5.5%) is the next big chunk where you’ll probably be spending more. I

Tip: To cut down on bridal jewellery costs, for at least one function we suggest you try out either fresh flower or gota jewellery. It’s budget friendly and very chic. You can opt for fresh flower jewellery for your Haldi ceremony and choose silver jewellery for your sangeet/roka or reception night. Many millennial brides also choose to wear heirloom jewellery on their wedding day.

Decor (7.2%) and Photography (5.3%) are another two areas where you end up spending more.

Tip: Opt for budget quirky accessories like paper windmills to decorate your Mehndi ceremony, and opt for marigolds instead of exotic roses to decorate your wedding. When it comes to photographers, you can either request your friends and family to capture the intimate functions like Mehndi and Haldi and get professional photographers for other functions.

CATEGORY 2: Up to 50 Lakh

How to split your child's wedding costs with your ex‐spouse

If your wedding budget’s upper limit is around 50 Lakhs, then venue along with catering (18%) and Jewellery (23%) will take up most of your budget.

Tip: If you opt for venues that don’t force you to take their in-house catering services, then you may be able to save on catering costs. Another way to save money is by renting jewellery. It can easily save you a few lakhs of rupees.

Decor (10%) is another area that will take a good chunk of the wedding budget.

Tip: Try decorating smaller functions with artificial flowers and lights to save on decor costs.

Photography, bridal outfits and honeymoon (6.9%, 7.2%, and 7.2% respectively) expenses are almost the same amount in this budget.

Tip: Instead of opting for high-end photographers, check for freelance photographers who will capture your wedding at a fraction of a cost. Did you know that just like people rent jewellery, you can also rent designer wedding outfits? Yes, you can save up a lot of money this way!

CATEGORY 3: Up to 80 Lakh

How to split your child's wedding costs with your ex‐spouse

This high-end budget wedding should not let you worry too much about costs. But even in this budget, venue and catering (13.5% and 23.3%) together take a huge chunk of your budget.

Tip: Including international cuisines in the menu can shoot up the costs. On an average, an Indian meal plate costs around 800 per person. But with international cuisines, the plate cost can go up to 1500 per person.

Increase in the wedding budget also means a simultaneous increase in jewellery expenditure (18%). Whatever budget you choose, jewellery is one department that will see an exponential rise.

Tip: We suggest you buy jewellery around Dhanteras or Akshay Tritiya festivals so that you end up saving some money. A lot of jewellers offer discounts and promotions during these festivals.

Decoration, bridal outfits and honeymoon departments are the next set of high share expenses.

Tip: Try bargaining or opting for packages when you are planning for your honeymoon. This will help you save up so that you can use the balance to shop your heart out!

Advantages of using the Budget Calculator

1. Refine your wedding budget:

The Indian wedding cost calculator will give you a rough estimate of what would be the approximate cost of each vendor. That’s not it. There is also an option of editing the cost at which you booked the vendor and also the amount that is due for payment.

2. Find budget-wise vendors:

There is a list of vendors that are available on the site. You can view their pages and see their work before booking them.

3. Edit your budget mid-way:

You can edit your budget mid-way and it will automatically calculate and adjust the costs of each vendor.

4. Easy to understand and control your costs:

The pie-chart estimation makes it very easy for you to see the major costs and work your way around to dial them down.

Each wedding foresees some miscellaneous expenses which sometimes are not mentioned anywhere. Please keep aside 4.5% of your total wedding budget for these miscellaneous expenses. We hope this Indian wedding cost calculator will lessen your burden and make the wedding planning a breeze!

Do tell us about your experience of the WeddingWire Budget tool in the comments below.

Mike Weirsky has hit the jackpot. He won $273 million from this month’s Mega Millions. The stay-at home dad was collecting spousal support payments from his former wife Eileen Murray after they split up last October. Ms. Murray is working as a cost analyst for a utility company, but has no plans to return to her former husband. Murray states she has no intentions of reaching out to him for any share of the money but expects he will do the “moral thing.”

Lottery winnings are a once in a lifetime event – in fact most people don’t win the lottery during their lifetimes. However, it is not uncommon for people to suddenly have more money than they did before. Large bonuses, a better job, or a substantial inheritance can unexpectedly increase a person’s net worth. What happens when you find yourself with more money than expected? What happens if your former partner obtains a large windfall?

What is Community Property?

Community property is property that married spouses own together. Any property or assets acquired by either spouse during the marriage is considered community property, regardless of whose name is on title. This includes real estate, personal property, cash, bank accounts, and lottery winnings. Nine states use community property rules: Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.

What If I Don’t Live in a Community Property State?

All other states follow common law property rules (not to be confused with common law marriages). Property is owned solely by each individual unless the spouses agree otherwise.

For instance, if a married Californian wins the lottery, the winner’s spouse is automatically has a 50% interest in the winnings. On the other hand, the lottery winnings of a married Florida man would belong solely to him unless he is part of a contract that gives his spouse rights to the lottery winnings as well.

Some non-community property states may have laws that deviate from the common law property rules. Some states may require family law courts to divide property by fairness and equity on a case by case basis. If a lottery ticket was purchased with share money, a judge may divide the proceeds based on income, earning capacity, years of marriage, and any other relevant factor.

How to split your child's wedding costs with your ex‐spouseInheritance and Lottery Winnings

The rules in community property states can be different if you inherit cash or assets. Inherited property in community property states is considered separate property: what you inherit is yours and you are not obligated to share your inheritance with your spouse. Suppose Grandma intended for you to have her house when she passed away, but she doesn’t like the person you married.

Rather than jeopardize your inheritance, community property states have decided that any property that Grandma gives to you is solely yours. This rule can extend to lottery winnings: if you purchased the winning ticket with inherited money, the windfall will be yours solely and separately.

There’s an exception though: if you commingle your separate property with community property, then the separate property will become community property and your spouse will become entitled to his or her half. For instance, suppose that you decide to sell Grandma’s house and put the money into a joint account that you share with your spouse.

The two of you decide to use all the money in the joint account to buy another house, and then sell the house a few years later after fixing it up. After a few more years, the new joint account is completely untraceable to the inheritance you received from Grandma. At that point, the inheritance has been thoroughly commingled with community property and there is no distinction between them.

Lottery Winnings: Sharing with Your (Former) Spouse

In a community property state, the timing of your windfall may determine whether you are obligated to split your lottery winnings or your Christmas bonus with your ex-spouse. If you separate from your spouse while residing in a community property state before winning the lottery, then your spouse owns half the money. If you win the lottery after the judgment has been signed, then you own 100% of the money without your spouse.

The gray area is when you obtain the money after separation before the judge has signed the divorce decree. Although the date of separation is typically when the community ends, the separation is usually considered a trial period for couples to decide whether they want to get back together, remain separated, or obtain a divorce.

The intent during a separation period can be muddled as the parties themselves may be unsure how they want to proceed. A large windfall of money may how one or both parties feel about a pending divorce.

Although it only takes one party for a divorce to proceed, winning the lottery during the separation period may prompt a party deciding to stay to leave instead or vice versa. If that occurs, the other party may fight tooth and nail to obtain a percentage of the money.

Does Winning the Lottery Effect Child Custody?

Child custody has no effect on who owns property. However, winning the lottery or obtaining a large amount of money may affect support payments.

What About Winning the Lottery and Spousal Support?

Lottery winnings can impact spousal support payments. If you are paying alimony and the other spouse wins the lottery or otherwise acquires a large windfall of income, you may request a reduction in support based on a change of financial circumstances. Similarly, if you are receiving support and your former spouse finds how you won the lottery, you may have your alimony payments reduced if not voided altogether.

What About Winning the Lottery and Child Support?

If you are behind on your child support payments and you do not have custody of your child, the other parent can ask the court for the balance from your lottery winnings. Many states will automatically deduct whatever is owed for child support from the winnings before you receive it. When the child support deductions are made, you are entitled to the rest of your winnings.

If you are current on your child support payments, the other parent can seek a modification of support, most likely to increase the amount of the payments. The other parent would have to show how the increased payments would benefit the child(ren) and not just the other parent. You may wish to consider setting up a trust fund so that the money is distributed in discretionary amounts to the child(ren) directly without the risk that the other parent will spend it on themselves.

It’s not easy living with your ex after a breakup. Here are some ways to create space and boundaries when dealing with this less than desirable situation.

How to split your child's wedding costs with your ex‐spouse

It’s not easy living with your ex after a breakup. When a couple breaks up, the first thing most people want to do is get as much space from their ex as possible.

Separating from a spouse or long-term partner is one of the most common but difficult situations people experience in life — one that is especially hard and complicated if you two are still living together after the breakup.

However, this scenario is becoming increasingly common: Around 40 percent of all women who cohabitate with their significant other eventually marry, but 27 percent of such relationships result in a breakup .

Common reasons you may continue living with your ex.

There are many reasons people continue to live together after a breakup, but one of the main reasons is due to their financial situation. In 2010, a British survey of 1,100 people found that 28 percent of separated couples continued living together post-breakup because of financial pressures. Oftentimes, couples move in together before they’re married in order to save money by sharing expenses, so it makes sense that they may have to stay together after breaking up until they get their financial situations in order.

The other reasons people continue living together after a breakup were the importance of the parenting bond and a desire for social legitimacy. When couples have children, a greater importance and sense of permanence are often placed on the relationship because most parents believe you should try to make the relationship work for the children’s sake. Divorce can be very hard on a child, so parents sometimes try to stay together even after the relationship is over so their child can keep both of their parents for a while longer.

Creating Space and Boundaries when living with your ex.

If you find yourself in this unfortunate scenario, you owe it to your mental health to find ways to make it more bearable. This involves communicating the space and boundaries you need with your ex after making the decision to split. It may take some time to figure out a proper arrangement for the two of you, but if you’re planning on cohabiting post-breakup for more than even a few days, you’ll need to work out your sleeping arrangements.

It may also help to make a schedule for the common areas if you’d rather not constantly be in the same space as your ex. You deserve emotional space, and setting boundaries will help boost your self-esteem , conserve your emotional energy and reestablish your independence and agency after a breakup.

If there is an approaching deadline for living with your ex, use this time to plan what your new space will look like after they’re gone. Whether you’re moving out, they’re moving out, or you both are finding a new place to live, transforming your new home after a divorce or a breakup can be a breath of fresh air as you can surround yourself with only things that spark joy in your life.

If you’re staying in the home you lived in with your partner, take this time to truly embrace your style by finding some new pieces of furniture and art that you enjoy. Changing your environment can help you regain confidence and move on to a new chapter of your life. If you need some inspiration to find a decor style that suits your individual tastes, check out some of the web’s top home decorating blogs .

Of course, living with your ex makes this all more complicated when there are children in your life. Depending on the age of your child, changing their environment may not be what they need at this unstable time when their parents are splitting up. However, it’s important to remember that your needs matter too, and you are a better parent when your mental well-being is taken care of.

Co-parenting can be difficult when hard feelings remain after the breakup, especially if you’re still living together, but it is better for your child if you can find a way to work through the feelings. Just because the relationship didn’t work out doesn’t mean you both can’t still be good parents together, as long as your relationship isn’t coercive or abusive in nature. Let go of the past, focus on your child, communicate with your ex, and compromise when possible — ultimately, a civil relationship with your co-parent will be better for you, your ex, and your child.

Self-Care After Divorce

Self-care is necessary as you work to build yourself back up after a divorce. No matter what the reason for the split was, prioritize and focus on yourself during this difficult time. If the stress of living with your ex after a breakup is causing a lot of headaches, consider seeing a therapist, finally trying some essential oils, or taking a lot of bubble baths.

A therapist can help you work through difficult feelings, and they are likely to suggest a lot of self-care on top of that. Essential oils can help reduce headaches and warm baths can help your muscles relax, which is important when you’re constantly stressed and tense.

After a breakup, many people often look for a rebound or a new relationship to jump into to distract them from heartache. Although this can be tempting, it often leads to messy situations. More often than not, you need time to find your footing before you’re ready for a new relationship.

Even if you’re distracting yourself with a social media fling — 21 percent of people who meet their significant others on the internet meet them through social networks like Facebook and Instagram — this is not always harmless. It’s best to wait until you’re truly ready to try again before starting new romantic relationships, which might mean waiting until you’re no longer living with your ex.

Breakups are difficult, but they’re not as difficult as staying in a relationship that isn’t working. Although you may find yourself living with an ex after a breakup, remember that it’s not an uncommon situation, and try to make the best of it. Self-care after divorce is extremely important to helping you regain your confidence. Establish boundaries with your ex and make the space you need to take care of yourself.

This advice applies to England. See advice for Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales

You should try and speak to your ex-partner if the child arrangements you’ve agreed aren’t working – for example, if you’re not seeing your children as much as you want.

You might be able to make changes, using mediation if you need to, and avoid spending money on going to court. Court can be stressful for everyone, especially children.

If your children are over 16, you should try and work out arrangements yourselves. A court won’t usually make decisions about a child who’s 16 or older.

If you still can’t agree and your children are under 16, you can go to court to sort out arrangements that you’ll both have to stick to.

If you need to speak with someone about your partner being aggressive

If your partner makes you feel anxious or threatened, you should get help.

You can call Refuge or Women’s Aid on 0808 2000 247 at any time.

If you’re a man affected by domestic abuse you can call Men’s Advice Line on 0808 801 0327 between 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

If you’re unsure about what to do next, talk to an adviser.

Change your original agreement

Before you get anyone else involved, it’s worth talking about what’s not working.

Look back at what you originally agreed. Try to make some changes to the things that aren’t working.

For example, you could:

change when and where you see your children

get someone you trust involved, such as a grandparent or a friend you both know, to help arrange when and where you see your children

The Ministry of Justice has a guide to sorting out child arrangements that might help if you and your ex-partner are struggling to make your agreement work. If you’re having trouble making the contact arrangements, using a child contact centre might help.

Using a child contact centre

A child contact centre is a safe place where your child and your ex-partner can meet or have ‘contact’. This might help if you’re struggling to communicate with your ex-partner or you don’t want to see them.

Staff at a child contact centre can:

help with handover arrangements so you don’t need to see your ex-partner

see and hear your child during the contact session to make sure they’re safe – this is called ‘supervised contact’

give you a safe space for your child and ex-partner to meet – this is called ‘supported contact’

You can find out more about contact centres on the National Association of Contact Centres (NACC) website.

If you can’t speak to your ex-partner

If you’re really struggling to speak to your ex-partner and resolve what’s not working, it’s a good idea to start keeping a diary.

Write down any time your ex-partner hasn’t stuck to the agreements – for example, if they keep bringing your children home later than promised without a good reason.

This will be useful if you do need to go to court, because it will show why the arrangement hasn’t worked.

Go to mediation

You should try mediation before going to court – it can be cheaper and usually quicker. You can check if you’re eligible for legal aid on GOV.UK.

You’ll speak to a ‘mediator’, who will try and help you agree on how to work out your arrangements between yourselves.

You don’t have to go to mediation, but you should at least start it if you think you might go to court later. If you go to court you’ll need to prove you went to an introductory meeting called a ‘mediation information and assessment meeting’ (MIAM). At the introductory meeting you’ll find out what mediation is and how it can help you.

There are exceptions when you don’t have to go to a MIAM first – for example, if you’ve suffered domestic abuse.

If you decide to go to court

You’ll usually need to have done everything you can to make your arrangements work.

You’ll have to tell the court what your original agreements were and why they didn’t work. You’ll also need to tell them what new arrangements you think will work.

If you’ve experienced domestic abuse, you can apply to the court straight away. You can usually get help to pay for a solicitor – check on GOV.UK.

Courts are changing the way they work because of coronavirus. Hearings could happen:

over the phone or by video call – these are sometimes called ‘remote hearings’

with a mix of people in the court and people joining over the phone or by video call – these are called ‘hybrid hearings’

If you go to the court in person, you’ll have to wear a mask or covering for your mouth and nose. If you don’t wear one, you won’t be allowed in the building. Some people don’t have to wear one – check who doesn’t have to wear a mask or face covering on GOV.UK.

If the court hasn’t told you how to attend your hearing, contact them to find out. You can search for their contact details on GOV.UK.

You can ask the court for a ‘child arrangements order’, which can say:

who your children live with and where

when and how your children will see both parents

who else your children will see, for example family friends and relatives

The court’s decision will be based on what they think is best for the child. This is different for every family but the court will usually try to make sure that children see both parents – unless there’s a risk of violence or abuse.

You have to pay a £232 court fee to get a child arrangements order. If you’re on a low income, you could get help to pay the fee.

It’s best to get legal help if you go to court. Contact your nearest Citizens Advice for help finding a solicitor.

After you’ve applied online, you should call the court to explain why your case is urgent. The court will decide if you need an urgent hearing.

Your case would be urgent if, for example:

your child is in danger

your ex-partner hasn’t returned your child when they should have

You’ll have to appear in court. You can ask to appear in a different room in court from your ex-partner.

You can ask to appear in a different room in court from your ex-partner if you’ve experienced domestic abuse or have another reason to be apart.

Before the hearing, someone will contact you and your ex-partner from an organisation called the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass). Cafcass work with families and the court to help decide what should happen in cases that involve children. The person from Cafcass will also speak to your children before the hearing. You can find out more about what Cafcass do on their website.

The court will decide your new arrangements – you’ll have to stick to them, even if you don’t agree with them.

Page last reviewed on 30 September 2019

  1. How to Deal with Infidelity and Stop a Cheating Husband in his Tracks
  2. Setting Boundaries With a Boyfriend Going Through a Divorce
  3. How to Break Up From a Long-Term Relationship
  4. How to Handle a Marriage Separation
  5. How to Get Your Husband Back When You Are Separated

How to split your child's wedding costs with your ex‐spouse

Jeffrey Hamilton/Digital Vision/Getty Images

You know it’s going to be awkward, but you think you can handle it. You know it will tax your patience, but you’re determined to rise above the friction. And you know it won’t last forever, which is why you’re willing to live in the same house with your estranged spouse while you’re getting a divorce – and keeping your relations as civil as possible. Psychologists and divorce counselors say this unconventional living arrangement can work – if you set practical, legal, financial and emotional parameters first.

Set Practical Boundaries

As roommates, you and your soon-to-be former partner probably have well-established spaces where you prefer to eat, relax, work and sleep. These habits may change in the face of an impending divorce. So without resorting to drawing chalk lines down each room, designate “exclusive” and “shared” domains in your home, and begin with what may be the thorniest issue: the sleeping arrangements.

After you’ve come to terms on space, define household responsibilities, such as who will clean, cook, take care of the yard and tend to maintenance issues. (The laundry should be simple to divide and conquer: Each person should do his or her own. But meals may be trickier; will you still eat together, or will you each shop for and prepare your own meals?) As experience has probably taught you, a little cooperation goes a long way, especially if you both find yourself in the kitchen, ready to make dinner, if one of you arrives home later than expected from work.

Set Legal Boundaries

Safeguard your legal documents – and especially all papers related to your separation and divorce – in a place outside your shared home, where your soon-to-be ex cannot access them. (Keep these documents in a locked safe at work or at a trusted friend’s house.) Even the most “amicable” divorces can suddenly turn ugly, and you must protect your privacy.

Choose a low-key time to walk through your home together and list all of your shared possessions. Then, decide on a fair distribution of these items. This necessary exercise can trigger a wide range of emotions; if it does, cut the exercise short and resume it at another time. Remember that it’s better for you and your future ex to decide on a division of property rather than taking it to a judge.

Set Financial Boundaries

While the day-to-day expenses of running your household shouldn’t change, expectations as to who should pay for what can do a 360-degree turn during a divorce. Sit down and itemize your household budget, including the mortgage or rent payment, utilities and groceries, and decide who will pay for what. Then take the extra step of filing these receipts in a special folder after they’ve been paid. Your goal here is to defuse tension and suspicion by being “an open book.”

Make a pledge, together, not to take on extra expenses or make unnecessary purchases while you cohabitate. Now is not the time to inflame tensions or add to the extra expenses you will probably face once you finally part ways. If you suspect that your former partner is acting deceptively – opening new lines of credit, “stashing” money aside – confront him or her. And if this tack doesn’t work, consult with your attorney. Shady financial behavior often portends a divorce that is protracted over money.

Set Emotional Boundaries

If you’re not adept at holding (or biting) your tongue, now is the time to hone this skill. You may need it as you navigate the practical, legal and financial challenges of sharing a house with an estranged partner – not to mention the unforeseen problems that might surface, too. The presence of children will undoubtedly make your living arrangement even more stressful, so try to look at the situation as good training for forging a future relationship that is both civil and respectful.

Keep reminding yourself that it’s “only a matter of time” before this living arrangement comes to an end. This chapter of your life will end, and a new (and hopefully, happier) one will begin. As long as you’re still living with your partner, you might as well start creating the emotional distance that will ease the adjustment of your divorce. For example, if he or she stays out late or starts dropping hints about a “new person” in the picture, force yourself to put up an emotional barrier so that it doesn’t bother or hurt you. This too will be excellent practice for the future.

How to split your child's wedding costs with your ex‐spouse

How to split your child's wedding costs with your ex‐spouse

Let’s do some beach house math. Three sisters and their families are paying $3,000 to rent a four-bedroom house in Isle of Palms, S.C., for a week. How should they split the costs?

Easy: Divide $3,000 by three, so they each pay $1,000.

But wait: One sister has three kids, who are staying in the fourth bedroom. One sister is single and has none. And the third sister, along with her husband and baby, is only staying five days. Help!

The worst part of a multi-family vacation is often sharing the expenses. If one person feels they’re paying too much, that can sour the entire trip for everyone. So what’s the fairest way to split vacation rental costs? And how can travel insurance help?

Why travel insurance is crucial for multi-family vacations

If you’re planning a domestic vacation (like a beach house rental) with multiple family members and/or friends, you need a travel insurance plan with two key benefits: trip cancellation and trip interruption .

These benefits can save your budget (and your family harmony) in case you must cancel the trip or cut it short due to a covered reason. Here’s one example: A few days before the trip, what if your daughter becomes seriously ill and is hospitalized? Of course, you decide to stay home and care for her — but your other relatives are still going on vacation, and you’ll be on the hook for your share of the rental costs. If you have trip cancellation benefits, you can be reimbursed for your pre-paid, nonrefundable trip costs when you must cancel for a covered reason.

Trip cancellation insurance doesn’t have to be expensive. If you’re traveling within the U.S., and your main concern is protecting your financial investment, consider the affordable OneTrip Cancellation Plus plan. Get a quote to see which plan best fits your vacation budget .

Now, what’s the best way to split those vacation costs?

Option 1: Splitting vacation rental expenses by room

The simplest way to split a three-family vacation rental is in thirds, of course, even if each family is a different size. This works if everyone is pretty relaxed about money. You can offer other compensation to make things fair, such as giving the single traveler/smallest family the master bedroom.

And if they’re not so relaxed? One method is to treat the beach house like a hotel and have everyone pay a nightly rate per room. So, in the example above, the nightly room rate would be $107. Sister A, with the three kids, would pay around $1500 for using two rooms. Sister B, with no kids, would pay $750. And sister C, who’s staying for five days, would pay $535. Easy, right?

But who’s going to pay the remaining $215 for the two nights sister C’s bedroom is empty? And will sister A agree to pay fully half the cost of the beach house just because her family is the largest? This is harder than it looks.

Option 2: Splitting vacation rental expenses by person

Another method for splitting vacation expenses is to treat it like an all-inclusive resort: There’s a set rate per adult, with kids half-price and babies free. So, with 5 adults and 3 kids sharing a $3,000 beach house… whoa, now we’re getting into algebra. If 5x + 3(.5x) = 3,000, each adult must pay $461.50 for the week, plus about $231 for each kid. Fair, right?

Well, now the family of five is paying even more than half of the house costs: a total of $1615. And that presents its own problem. Is it fair for the largest family to essentially subsidize the cost of a vacation for everyone else? The single sister gets all the benefits of a big, beautiful beach house for a super-low weekly rate, after all.

And what about income? Let’s say sister C, the one with a spouse and baby, is a corporate lawyer and makes twice as much money as either of her siblings. Should she offer to pay more? The answer: Most people agree that income should not matter when splitting vacation expenses, and that it’s not fair to expect more from a wealthier sibling/parent.

Option 3: Splitting vacation rental expenses by person per night

The best way to split vacation rental costs among families, according to Splitwise , is that “each person should pay proportionally to the number of nights they were there. This system is robust, because anytime someone stays in the shared accommodations for an additional night, the per-night price goes down for everyone.”

Confused? Use Splitwise’s vacation expenses calculator . If we calculate rates based only on the adults in our hypothetical group, then Sister A’s family pays $1355; Sister B pays $677; and Sister C (whose family is staying for 5 nights) pays $968. That seems pretty fair to us.

How to split food costs and other expenses on a multi-family vacation

After all this vacation-rental math stress, you’re going to need a cold drink on the deck. But who pays for that? Sharing drink and food costs on vacation is a whole other challenge.

Some families take a buy-your-own approach, which makes sense. Pay for what you eat, and eat only what you’ve paid for. For communal dinners, each family can take a turn buying the ingredients and preparing a meal.

But for big family vacations — the kind with 20 people all sharing a house — it gets tricky to keep track of who bought the blueberry bagels. Math for Grownups has a sensible solution : Use the concept of shares, where each adult has one share of food expenses and kids have a half-share. Buy communal groceries at the start of the trip and divide the cost accordingly. Alcohol costs should be split only by those adults who drink.

Got all that? Just don’t forget to buy travel insurance as soon as you book your vacation! Compare travel insurance plans from Allianz Global Assistance and get a free quote today.

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By Eric V Copage

Common sense suggests that asking the right questions before getting married can make for a better union, but rarely is the other side of the coin examined.

That could be because, by the time the prospect of divorce surfaces, spouses may already be in a stressful frame of mind, and in no mood for a game of 20 — or even 11 — questions.

That is a mistake, said Nancy Colier, a psychotherapist in Manhattan. Even if the ultimate decision is to dissolve the marriage, asking the right questions before contacting a lawyer or mediator, and perhaps with the assistance of a marriage counselor, may prove worthwhile.

The New York Times asked some people well versed in the challenges and difficulties of marriage and divorce to suggest questions that may make a split more amicable, or even save the union. Here are 11 of their ideas:

1. Have you made clear your concerns about the relationship?

“You may think that you have communicated, but your partner may not have really heard,” said Sherry Amatenstein, a marriage therapist in Manhattan and Queens and the author of books on relationships.

“Research shows that people hear only between 30 to 35 percent of what is said to them,” she said, “because we’re so full of ‘I’m going to say this to them.’”

If, for example, you believe your spouse is not making you a priority and, say, fails to spend time with you, this behavior can’t be changed unless he or she is aware of your concerns.

“You want to be really clear that you’ve given it everything in terms of speaking truth to your partner,” Ms. Colier said. That could help in healing if the marriage dissolves, she said, because you’ll know that you have done everything possible to make the relationship work.

  • How to split your child's wedding costs with your ex‐spouse
  • How to split your child's wedding costs with your ex‐spouse
  • How to split your child's wedding costs with your ex‐spouse
  • How to split your child's wedding costs with your ex‐spouse
  • How to split your child's wedding costs with your ex‐spouse

In this article, you will find:

  • Page 1
  • Page 2

Page 1

Child Support: What’s Fair?

If you and your spouse believe you can reach a settlement, how do you determine what’s in your child’s best interest but also fair to both of you? It’s not easy, but you can do it.

To Settle or Not to Settle? That Is the Question

Now that most states have formulas for determining child support, there is little mystery about the outcome if you were to have a judge decide. If you are the custodial parent and your spouse isn’t willing to meet the state’s guidelines during negotiation, why should you settle? Most of the time, of course, you shouldn’t. But there are exceptions. The following are some important reasons for agreeing to less child support than the state’s guidelines might otherwise allow:

    There’s more certainty that you can collect the support. Most parents will pay what they can afford and especially what they have agreed to pay. In contrast, when they fall hopelessly behind or a judge orders them to pay more than they can afford, they often default, and, if your ex lacks a job or assets, it can be a lot harder to collect.

Add-ons. If you agree to a child support figure that is less than the formula, you might be able to get your spouse to add on other items. Maybe the law of your state doesn’t obligate a parent to pay for after-school activities, camp, or even college. You might be willing to accept less child support than the formula provides if your spouse will pick up some of these items.

  • Exception to the formula. Remember, hardship provisions to the law usually make the formula inapplicable. If your spouse demonstrates to a judge that hardships exist, the judge might not apply the formula. If that situation is a possibility for you, negotiation might be in your best interest.
  • Likewise, if you are the noncustodial parent, negotiating child support might be best for you because …

      Your spouse might agree to less than the guidelines allow.

    You have more say over what your financial needs are and can tailor the agreement to your situation.

  • You can modify the agreement to state that if your income decreases by a certain amount, your child support payments can be reduced accordingly.
  • Duration of Child Support

    Red Alert

    In most jurisdictions, you cannot just agree to change child support informally, with your ex. Instead, you must go to court to obtain an order modifying the amount of support. Otherwise, your support obligation continues to accrue and is enforceable under the law.

    Child support should terminate at the age your child is considered emancipated under your state’s laws. In some states, that means age 18; in others, age 21, or beyond.

    Other events can terminate child support as well—the child’s entry into the military, assumption of full-time employment, or marriage before the age of emancipation. If the child moves in with the non-custodial parent on a permanent basis, child support also should stop. (You might want to negotiate a sum the former custodial parent will have to pay you in that case.)

    If you and your spouse agree, child support can extend beyond the age of emancipation. For example, if in your state the emancipation age is 18, but you want your spouse to continue to pay child support until your child graduates from college, you could try to negotiate a provision stipulating that child support continue for as long as the child is a full-time undergraduate student, but in no event beyond the age of 21 or 22, whenever the child graduates in due course.

    What Should the Child Support Figure Be?

    Red Alert

    If your child support agreement includes a mechanism to increase child support without returning to court, consider a similar mechanism to decrease child support in the event of a financial setback, such as a job loss or a reduction in income of, for example, 25 percent or greater. If you are the parent paying child support, you might want a provision that reduces it by, say, a third or half when the children are in camp or away at college, particularly if you are also contributing to camp or college. Why not a 100 percent reduction? Because your former spouse still has to maintain the home for your child after camp or during college vacations (assuming that your state is one of the few in which the age of emancipation is 21). But beware, you’ll have to formalize each decrease by way of court order, or your “official” child support obligation will remain as it was per the last court decree.

    How do you go about determining exactly how much child support you should pay or receive if you are negotiating an agreement that deviates from your state’s guidelines? Keep in mind that the state is unlikely to allow you to give (or receive, depending on your position) less than what is provided in the guidelines, unless you persuade the court it’s appropriate to deviate from those guidelines in your case.

    To ascertain a fair amount of child support without using your state’s formula, it is best to figure out a monthly budget for the children. Household expenses, such as mortgage or rent, food, and utilities can be allocated one half to the children and one half to the parent, or they can be allocated one part each among all the children in the household and the parent. Clothing costs for the year should be added up and divided by 12, as should camp, extracurricular activities, birthday party gifts, and similar items that are paid only once or twice a year.

    After you and your spouse have worked out a budget, you can determine the total contribution for each of you. You should agree on a mechanism for calculating future cost-of-living increases for this payment. You can base your formula on the cost-of-living increase as determined by your state’s department of agriculture or other indices, or if you prefer, you can base it on increases in your incomes. Because most people prefer not to reveal their income each year, it’s common to base such payment increases on outside, objective criteria.

    Decide Whether to Give in or Fight for Custody

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    How to split your child's wedding costs with your ex‐spouse

    Question: My ex wanted shared custody, and I said no. Now he said he’s taking me to court for full custody! Should I let the court decide who wins custody — and risk losing — or should I just give in to my ex’s demands for shared custody?

    Answer: You are not required to agree to a shared custody arrangement simply because your ex demands one. However, if you go to court, be forewarned that the judge will rule based on the child custody arrangement he or she believes is in the best interests of your children, and there’s a chance you could lose. Since the “best interests” standard takes a number of factors into account and gives the judge a great deal of discretion, it is hard to say how a particular judge will decide. And that uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. In fact, that may be just what your ex is counting on — that you’ll be so uncomfortable with the ambiguity that you’ll give in to his demands!

    Keep in mind, too, that judges in most states favor an arrangement where co-parenting and time with both parents is encouraged. This doesn’t necessarily have to mean shared physical custody, though. A common arrangement is for the judge to award sole physical custody to the primary caregiver, but grant joint decision-making authority (called “legal custody”) to both parents.

    If your ex wants shared custody (physical), he will have to show to a judge that it is in the best interests of the child and that it would not disrupt the child’s routine. If your ex wants shared legal custody, the judge may award him this, but this only allows him to share in the decision-making about the child’s upbringing. If you and your ex have had difficulty co-parenting, the judge is less likely to award shared custody.

    How to split your child's wedding costs with your ex‐spouse

    When a child is born to married parents one or both of them will register the child’s name on the birth certificate. The surname, such as Smith, Patel, Cohen, is the name by which the whole family unit is known. Children normally take the surname of their father unless their mother wishes them to have a different surname and the father agrees to this.

    Unmarried fathers do not have to register their children’s birth and have no independent right to have their name entered on the birth certificate. Unmarried mothers can only enter the father’s name if they:

    • both agree and sign the register
    • each produce a sworn statement, or
    • have an appropriate Court Order

    After a divorce children normally keep their present surname but their name can be changed. When some children in the stepfamily have different surnames, the parent and stepparent may want everyone in the new family unit to have the same surname.

    The law on family names

    You cannot simply change a child’s last name when you remarry or set up a new partnership. The Court has the duty to decide what is in the best interests of the child. An application to change a child’s surname is normally only successful when everyone having parental responsibility for the child gives their written consent.

    They may agree to the name change or they may order a Specific Issue Order stating you cannot change the child’s name. If there is a Residence Order there will automatically be a provision stating that the child’s surname cannot be changed without the written consent of every other person who has parental responsibility or the Court.

    A mother, or father, cannot change a child’s surname by herself or himself unless she or he is the only person with parental responsibility. Even then if the other parent objects a Court Order should be made. Any child who has sufficient legal understanding may apply in their own right for the Court’s permission to change their name.

    How to change your child’s last name

    A name can effectively be changed by common usage but this normally relates to first names only and will not usually be legally enforceable. The easiest way of obtaining a formal proof may be to make a statutory declaration in front of a solicitor confirming the change of name. This is usually sufficient for banks, work and the Passport Office, etc.

    For a change of name to be fully legally recognised, the person having parental responsibility for the child can execute a Deed Poll which is a legal document containing personal information about the child and which will later be advertised in the London Gazette by the Court. The child must sign the Deed Poll as evidence of consent, if that child is aged between 16 and 18 years.

    There is a procedure in England & Wales called enrolment, which means that a deed poll is placed for safe keeping in the Royal Courts of Justice. It is not a requirement for the deed poll to be enrolled. Government bodies (e.g. HM Passport Office, DVLA, etc.) accept both enrolled and unenrolled deed polls. The process of enrolment doesn’t affect the legal status of your name. It isn’t more or less legally recognised than an unenrolled deed poll. It’s simply a matter of making a safe and public record of your change of name.

    The Deed Poll must be accompanied by the child’s birth certificate and a declaration sworn by a third party to formally identify the child and state the length of time for which that person has known the child and his or her parents. The Deed Poll must be supported by an Affidavit, a solemn promise that the proposed change of name will be for the benefit of the child.

    For more information on how to change your child’s surname, visit the website of Deed Poll Office where there is vast information on this and more.

    Questions from other parents

    Q. Can the parent and stepparent alone change the child’s name?

    A. No, they must have the written agreement of anyone else with parental responsibility or if not, consent of the Court.

    Q. What happens if my ex won’t give consent?

    A. The Court can overrule the other parent but only after careful consideration of all the facts.

    Q. What if I was unmarried when the child was born?

    A. An unmarried father can get legal responsibility for his child in 1 of 3 ways:

    • jointly registering the birth of the child with the mother (from 1 December 2003)
    • getting a parental responsibility agreement with the mother
    • getting a parental responsibility order from a court

    If the father doesn’t have Parental Responsibility and you want to marry someone else, you should still seek his permission. This is because the law is fast moving towards giving unmarried fathers greater involvement in their children’s lives, even where they do not have parental responsibility.

    Q. How long does it take?

    A. It varies according to which route you take. Your solicitor will advise you.

    Q. Can a child change their own name?

    A. If aged between 16 and 18 a child can generally change their name themselves but the consent of any person having responsibility for that child may be required.

    Q. Can a child object to their name being changed?

    A. Yes, if the Court is involved the child may well be consulted, if not the child could apply to the Court.

    Q. How much does it cost?

    A. It varies according to which route you take and who is involved. Ask your solicitor to tell you all the costs before taking any steps.

    Making a decision

    Think about all the implications of changing a child’s name before you go ahead. You need to be sure that such a big step like changing a child’s name is the right thing to do in all the circumstances.

    Think about all who will be affected – the child, the father’s feelings if the child stops using his name, and those of grandparents and other relatives.

    The child may resent it later in life and want to change their name back again. Building family togetherness does not depend on the use of the same family surname. Try talking it through with a solicitor, local CAB or with one of our Family Support Workers at Family Lives. You can get in touch with us on our confidential helpline on 0808 800 2222.

    How to split your child's wedding costs with your ex‐spouse

    Question, my husband and I got married last April and now that we are expecting our first child decided it’s time to sit down and go over our financial responsibilities together. We are both self employed so it’s really hard because our income fluctuates so much.

    How do you split bills and child costs with your husband currently? We want to be fair to each other but just really aren’t sure how to do it? Do you split everything 50-50. What systems do you have in place? What have you tried that works or doesn’t work?

    Thanks in advance!

    we completely combined our finances when we got married and don’t keep anything separate.

    How to split your child's wedding costs with your ex‐spouse

    same. It holds us accountable to one another as well for our spending and we know what we are working with as a household. And well to be honest I handle 100 % of the bills/budget and he doesn’t spend much of anything lol.

    same. all finances are together. shared credit cards and bank accounts.

    How to split your child's wedding costs with your ex‐spouse

    same. We share a bank acct and our paychecks are both deposited into it. We just pay our bills out of it in general it’s all both of our money , even prior to getting married lol.

    I would first have a common account to share bills over the child. We set up an excel sheet where we work all the costs from house stuff like mortgage, even Netflix cost is on there. All common bills will be paid out via the common account. We will always leave 1,500 euros (we live in Europe) on it in case but every month we pay our bills from this account. I would suggest you each go over the past year of income each and make an average of it and set up a fair amount each to participate. According to our situation my husband makes 40% more than me therefore he will pay more out of the common bills than me and we adjust so that I don’t have nothing remaining out of my paycheck. it works for us! Good luck on YouTube there is a lot of tutorial on how to share bills ont kids within the family etc and you can find books on it too with different tips 🙂

    How to split your child's wedding costs with your ex‐spouse

    We just buy things as we need them with whoever’s money works at the time. I make significantly less than my husband (he has a law enforcement career and I’m a nanny) but I typically buy a lot of the kids things while he takes care of most of the bills. I give about $1100/ month towards whatever he wants to apply it to. we have a 9 year old in private school, a 4.5 year old, and our May baby. Schooling is paid for by him, and I try to attend the uniform swaps if we need more pieces or I’ll pick them up when I can. If one of them really needed something and I couldn’t get it with my money he wouldn’t ever hesitate to get it.

    How to split your child's wedding costs with your ex‐spouse

    The legal process relating to how assets are divided in divorce is a skilled and complex task. It can also be a hotly contested issue. One of the main reasons for this is that the Court has wide discretion in deciding who gets what.

    What matrimonial assets are included in a divorce?

    Section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (the Act) sets out the basic guidelines that the English and Welsh Courts apply when dealing with financial claims involving property, savings, pensions and maintenance. In addition, the Court will also have reference to previously decided cases, known as case law, when making its decision.

    Where there are dependent children under the age of 18, this will have a large bearing on how the Court exercises its discretion in dividing matrimonial assets. Section 25 of the Act, provides that it shall be the duty of the Court in deciding how to exercise its powers to have regard to all the circumstances of the case with the first consideration being given to the welfare and needs of the dependent children.

    How are assets divided in a divorce?

    Section 25 of the Act sets out the issues that the Court is to consider in deciding how to exercise its powers. These are as follows:

    1. The income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;
    2. The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;
    3. The standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage;
    4. The age of each party to the marriage and the duration of the marriage;
    5. Any physical or mental disability of either of the parties to the marriage;
    6. The contributions made by each of the parties to the welfare of the family, including any contribution made by looking after the home or caring for the family;
    7. In the case of proceedings for divorce or nullity of marriage, the value to either of the parties to the marriage of any benefit (for example, a pension) which, because of the dissolution or annulment of the marriage, that party will lose the chance of acquiring.

    What orders can the Court make?

    In divorce, judicial separation or dissolution of a civil partnership, the Court has the power to make a variety of orders:

    Every marriage is different and every divorce settlement is different. There are no rigid rules regarding how assets are divided in a divorce and the law has to be flexible to apply to each case. The Court has wide discretion. There will not necessarily be a 50/50 split of the assets in every case and an equal division of assets may be appropriate in some cases but not in others.

    What does the Court consider when dividing matrimonial assets?

    Since no rigid rules apply, the Court will take into account the following broad factors when considering the division of the matrimonial assets:

    Court hearings

    An application to the Court relating to matrimonial finances (a financial remedy application) will normally involve three hearings. When an application is made, the Court will fix a First Appointment hearing. This is normally a directions hearing.

    The next hearing is a financial dispute resolution hearing. At this hearing, the Judge will take an active part in trying to settle the case. They will normally indicate an appropriate settlement. If the case does not settle at this hearing the case is then listed for a third and final contested hearing.

    As circumstances vary significantly from case to case and, given the wide discretion of the Court, the outcome will always vary depending on the facts of each case. However, pre-nuptial agreements, entered into before marriage can assist in allowing the parties to regulate their financial affairs in the event of a divorce.

    How to split your child's wedding costs with your ex‐spouseHow Nelsons can help

    Emma Davies is a specialist family law solicitor at Nelsons.

    If you need advice on any divorce-related matter or have any other family law-related queries, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss your circumstances in more detail and give you more information about the services that our family law solicitors can provide along with details of our hourly rates and fixed fee services.

    For more information or advice, please call Emma or another member of our team in Derby, Leicester or Nottingham on 0800 024 1976 or contact us via our online form.

    This advice applies to England. See advice for Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales

    You might need to change your child arrangements if someone in a household where your child usually stays has coronavirus symptoms. Find out when someone should self-isolate on GOV.UK.

    You should try to agree on changing the arrangements with the other parent. You can agree to change them even if you have a child arrangement order from a court, as long as you’re following the government’s guidance. It’s a good idea to keep a record of what you’ve agreed – for example, you could follow up your conversations with an email.

    If you can’t see your child face to face because of coronavirus, you could find other ways to talk to them – for example, by calling them or video calling.

    If your relationship ends and you have children, you’ll need to agree where your children live. You’ll also need to decide how much time they spend with each of you. This is called making ‘child arrangements’.

    Child arrangements are usually an informal agreement – but it can help to write them down.

    You’ll only need to go to court if there’s been violence or abuse in your relationship, or you really can’t agree.

    Sorting out how to pay for your children is another part of making child arrangements – find out more about working out child maintenance.

    You can get advice and support if your partner is being aggressive

    You should always get help making child arrangements if your partner makes you feel anxious or threatened.

    If you’re unsure about what to do next, contact your nearest Citizens Advice.

    Refuge and Women’s Aid can give you advice, emotional and practical support and information about where else to get help. They run a 24-hour helpline: 0808 2000 247

    If you’re a man affected by domestic abuse you can call Men’s Advice Line on 0808 801 0327 between 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

    Agreeing where your children live

    You’ll need to decide where your children stay. For example, they might live with one parent most of the time – but visit the other one at the weekends.

    When you’re deciding, you should try and think about:

    who has the most time to care for the children, and on which days – so you can make sure the children spend quality time with each of you

    the things your children do – for example it might not be best for them to stay somewhere a long way from their schools on a school night

    things that could happen in the future – for example if they might change schools, make sure they can get to their new one easily on a school night

    If they don’t live with you, the amount of time your children stay with you might affect how much maintenance you have to pay.

    For example, you can pay less maintenance if they spend 1 night a week at your house. This is to make up for the money you’ll spend looking after them. You can find out more about how much you must pay towards looking after your children on GOV.UK.

    Keeping in touch with your children

    When you’re agreeing where your children will stay, you should also work out how you’ll keep in touch with them when they’re staying with your ex-partner.

    If you’ve moved house and it’s difficult for your children to visit your new home, you could agree to meet them at a relative or family friend’s house.

    If you move away from your children, agree how you’ll keep up contact. You could ask your ex-partner to split travel costs or meet you somewhere with the children.

    Agree how to keep in touch with your ex partner

    If you can, agree a way that you’ll get in touch with each other in case of emergencies.

    If you don’t want to talk to each other you could agree to email, text or choose a friend that you can speak to each other through.

    Write down your agreement

    You should write down what you’ve agreed – this is called making a parenting plan. It will be useful to refer back to this in the future, if you can’t remember what you agreed or something isn’t working.

    You can make your own or print one and fill it in.

    Make sure both you and your ex-partner have a copy. You can change your plan together at any time.

    Getting help with child arrangements

    If you need more help agreeing child arrangements, you can go to mediation. It’s much easier and cheaper than going to court for help.

    A mediator is someone who will try to help you reach an agreement together – find out more about going to mediation.

    If you’re finding it difficult to make the arrangements, using a child contact centre might help. This is a safe place where your child and your ex-partner can meet or have ‘contact’. This might help if you don’t want to see your ex-partner or would like someone else to be there when the contact happens – find out more about using a child contact centre.

    If your arrangements aren’t working

    You can try to sort out something different by yourselves, or go back to mediation at any time to try to sort out disagreements. Even if you keep going back to mediation, it’ll probably still be cheaper than going to court.

    If you and your ex-partner have tried and failed lots of times to agree, you’ll need to go to court for a decision that you’ll both have to stick to.

    Page last reviewed on 20 February 2020

    How to split your child's wedding costs with your ex‐spouse

    Being the father of the bride is something fathers think about a lot when their daughters are growing up. But when it finally happens and your little girl has found a young man she wants to spend the rest of her life with, it can still be a little intimidating. Even in the best of family circumstances, there can be a fair amount of stress and emotional upheaval. But it can be compounded many times over when the bride’s parents are ex-spouses.

    The impending wedding can bring up all kinds of emotions and pain. Your daughter has not just her parents to handle through the process, but perhaps stepparents as well. Her mom and dad have a lot to communicate about, and they may not even be on speaking terms. Her parents’ failed marriage may result in lots of feelings of anxiety and uncertainty. And then there is the whole etiquette thing—who sits by whom, who dances at the reception with whom, who toasts and speaks? What is a divorced dad to do?

    Remember, It Is Her Day

    This wedding planning and execution experience is all about her, and not at all about you or your ex. Both of you need to control your feelings for the sake of your daughter. For example, no matter how you feel about marriage, you can’t disparage it. No snide comments to your daughter or her young man about what they are getting themselves into.

    Taking the High Road Will Pay off

    Particularly if your ex and you are at odds most of the time, the stress of a wedding will tend to strain whatever is left of your relationship. Experience teaches that for the most part, if you set aside your negative feelings, and communicate and cooperate, your relationship with your daughter will improve. Try to stay out of arguments and avoid being defensive.

    Remember to Focus on the Future

    Your daughter’s wedding plans are all about her dreams of the future. You will be tempted to dwell on the past, and if you do, you will regret it. Keep thinking about her future and stay positive. Retreating into old issues or ancient stories in your life will not be a good thing to do for any of you.

    Talk Early and Often

    Stay in the loop on the wedding plans and keep lines of communication open with your daughter and her mom. Generally speaking, the more communication, the better.

    Don’t Make a Big Deal About Your Daughter’s Stepdad

    In many ways, it will be as tough for him as it is for you, although in different ways. Again, keep your feelings to yourself about his involvement. Particularly if you have been divorced for a long time, she may have divided loyalties between these two dads in her life. So be gracious and share some of the fatherly duties with him if your daughter wants you to. In any case, you should definitely follow your daughter’s lead.

    What About Sitting With Your Ex?

    Wedding etiquette often suggests that it is important for a bride’s parents to sit together, even if they are not married. However, it is more important to keep peace and not make a scene than it is to follow wedding etiquette. For example, rather than having mom and dad sit together at the head table at a wedding luncheon, consider putting just the bride and groom at a head table (or at a small “sweetheart table” in the middle of the room with parents seated at nearby tables with their own spouses). At the wedding ceremony, you can put her mom and her partner near the center aisle on the front row, and you can sit at the other end. Try to be creative to find ways to keep things polite and cordial.

    What About Your New Partner?

    If you have remarried or you have a significant other, you will find yourself as the one having divided loyalties. As other dads have said, the best way to handle this is to remember that you are first your daughter’s dad. Again, help your partner understand that you will do what is necessary for your daughter to have a wedding that is peaceful and cordial. Hopefully, you picked a partner who can handle that. If not, it would be better to pay the price with your partner and leave them home than to have a confrontation or a scene at the wedding.

    Prepare for the Traditions

    At every wedding, there are some traditional moments. Moments like walking down the aisle, toasting the new couple or the daddy-daughter dance can be a wonderful memory or a painful experience. If you give a speech or a toast, make sure to keep it positive and focused on your daughter and her future. No reason here to bring up old stuff (“I hope you will be happier than your mother and I were” is a bad idea). For the dance, be flexible. She may want to dance with both you and her stepfather, or just one or the other, or neither. Just support her in however she wants to handle it.

    These general guidelines are just that—general. They will not fit every circumstance. For example, if you or your ex had an affair that led to divorce and the paramour is now married to one of you, all bets are probably off. But the best general rule is to be sensitive to your daughter’s desires and sensitive to her feelings. Putting her first throughout the process, whatever the price, and making sure she knows you love and respect her, will be the best thing for all concerned.