When parents divorce, their child support agreement generally addresses immediate expenses involving school, clothing, medical care and extracurricular activities. They may also determine at that point how they will divide college expenses when the time comes.
What happens when your child gets married? Who pays for the wedding? This generally isn't addressed during the divorce. However, traditionally, parents help pay for their children's weddings -- particularly if they're young and don't yet have much money of their own. This can put kids in the awkward position of having to go 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, as they should have since the divorce, is to put their child's interests first. This is no time to battle over who has to pay more or belittle your ex to your child for not contributing enough. Usually, parents pay based on their ability to do so. By knowing how much their parents can afford to chip in, brides and grooms-to-be can put a budget in place.
It's best, of course, if parents can communicate with each other and work out together how much they can and will pay for. This can free up your child to focus on all of the other parts of wedding planning. If your child sees that you're united on how much you'll contribute as a couple, he or she is also less likely to play one of you against the other to get more money.
Put Your Feelings Toward Each Other Aside
Beyond the division of expenses comes the division of labor and participation in the planning. Many divorced parents believe that if they are the one paying the most, they should have a bigger say in the wedding decisions. That shouldn't be the case. The bride or groom should determine what role they'd like each parent to play in the preparations and the wedding itself.
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 many years. It's essential to put any residual feelings of animosity aside so that children can enjoy their wedding activities without worrying that they will be marred by bickering between their parents.
If you want to include something in your divorce agreement regarding your kids' weddings, or update your parenting plan to do so, even if nuptials may not take place for a while into the future, your family law attorney can provide guidance.
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