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Resist urges and rein in spending on kids after divorce

Newly divorced parents in Minnesota and around the country must recognize that there is a difference between child support and overindulging children to try to make up for a divorce.

While parents don't want their children to see them as the "bad guy" in a divorce, they tend to spoil their children post-split. This means spending too much money on the kids, which in turn could put an individual in a sticky financial situation. Even worse, it could send the wrong message to kids about money.

For example, a father may want his children to forgive him for the divorce. Even though he had minded the family money tightly during the marriage, he decides to start splurging and spend money on his children after the split, taking them on vacations and buying them clothes and electronics.

Meanwhile, their mom doesn't have the money and doesn't want to build the balance on her credit cards. She says no to the kids' requests. Dad says yes, and he starts to charge things he can't afford and winds up in a financial bind.

In this example, spoiling the kids had bad results. It harmed the relationship with their mother and got their father in a bad financial situation.

When spending on the kids after a divorce, it is OK to indulge in an occasional treat. The spending should not happen so frequently that kids come to expect it. Instead, parents should continue to maintain a budget as they did before and plan for expenses.

Kids need to have consistency between the two households as well, and both parents must provide positive role models about spending. Children need to know that when they grow up, money is not endless.

Source: Huffington Post, "Spoiled? How Buying Your Kids Love During A Divorce Can Hurt Them And You," Suzanna de Baca, Oct. 26, 2012

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