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When parents get a 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.
If you are a parent that wants to help pay for your child’s weddings, you may face a few different situations:
It 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.
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 must pay more or belittle your ex for not contributing enough.
Usually, parents pay based on their ability to do so. By knowing how much each parent 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 the other parts of wedding planning.
You do not need to be equal with your ex on how much you’ll contribute. Do what feels right to you. 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.
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 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.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified divorce lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local divorce attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.