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It's essential to talk to your kids about finances after divorce

Nearly every couple who goes through a divorce experiences some negative impact to their financial situation no matter how favorable the settlement is for them. It's simply more expensive to maintain two households than one. For couples with children, this generally means changes in their lives. They may have to give up some of the things they've grown accustomed to.

Therefore, one of the conversations you need to have with your kids, especially if you're the primary custodial parent, is about the new economic reality. It's essential to be sensitive to the emotions they're already feeling about the break-up when discussing the changes that they will have to make. How much you share, of course, depends on their age and maturity.

For young kids, it's important to focus on the positive. Maybe they have to give up dance or karate classes, but explain that they can do more of things like going to the park or the beach. If a school change is required, maybe because private school is no longer affordable, that can be more difficult. Accentuate the positive aspects of the new school.

Teens will want more information. However, they can also be part of the solution. If they're old enough, a part-time job can give them spending money for things that are no longer in your budget. This is a good time to teach them about household budgeting, which can be valuable later on.

Even adult children may require a conversation. If you and your ex have estate plans (which you should), they need to be updated. Talk to your adult kids about what this means for their inheritance or any trust funds you have set up for them. Of course, things will change again if you remarry. You should always keep your heirs aware of any changes to prevent surprises and conflict later.

Like all conversations with your kids during the divorce, it's best if both parents are on the same page. One parent shouldn't be telling them that their new financial situation is your ex's fault. Further, parents shouldn't use gifts to try to win over their kids from the parent who may not be able to afford them.

Your Florida family law attorney can work to get the best settlement for your kids and you. He or she can also refer you to financial professionals to help you and your children optimize your resources.

Source: MartketWatch, "Opinion: After a divorce, how to talk to the kids about money," Melissa Montgomery-Fitzsimmons, May 26, 2016

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