What is the best way to handle the financial aspects of a divorce?

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What is the best way to handle the financial aspects of a divorce?

I have been separated (not legally) from my husband for over a year and half. I’d like to get a divorce this year and I’m not sure the best way to go about it. We are both on good terms and share custody of the 2 children that we have together. I do not ask for child support but in return he pays for daycare every week for our son which is $175 a week. He never has a real job. He works in construction. He works odd jobs here and there, some reported some under the table. I am not going to ask for additional child support only for him to agree to help with half of the children’s medical/dental expenses. I looked into just filing online but I’m worried about the financial form. He doesn’t make a certain amount of money a week and I do want him to continue to pay daycare. I read in fine print that if we share custody the parent who makes more money has to pay support to the other parent. Which I think is bogus. I struggle and without him paying at least daycare I’d be in serious trouble. Should we look into mediation? We have no assets to split and like I said, we are on good terms. I also am unsure what to do about filing taxes this coming year. I’d like to do them married but separated and claim both kids. But am I allowed to do that since he pays daycare? I was going to let him claim 1 child every year going forward except this year since I’ll probably be the one paying mostly for this divorce since he never knows when and where his next job will be. I just need some guidance.

Asked on December 29, 2010 under Family Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

How great for your kids that you are both on good terms in what could be a very stressful matter.  I think that the best thing for you to do is t seek help from an attorney in your area on the matter, perhaps legal aid if you qualify.  States have enacted Child Support Guidelines to insure that the needs of the children are met at a minimum by both parents who are legally obligated to support them.  These guidelines are not subject to modification and it is a purely a calculation from income and other factors that are plugged in to the equation.  Sometimes you can "manipulate" the factors by having one party be the custodian of the children (that would be you as the money maker) and then that may negate the need for you pay him when he has the kids (he can still have visitation and decision making ability).  He may also be able to agree to pay for the childcare over and above anything else.  You can also agree as to who takes the kids on the taxes.  Seek help.  Good luck.


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