Child Support and Extracurricular Expenses

Generally speaking both parents split the cost of the basic childcare needs. Such things as daycare, food, clothing, etc…. The court will apportion each parent’s obligation respective to each parent’s ability to pay. The issue parents often face is one of who will pay for those expenses related to the extracurricular activities.

Who Pays and Why?

When parents have a disagreement about paying for extracurricular activities, you have three viable options to resolve the issue. First the parties can sort it out between themselves and often this is the easiest way. After all it is your children you are talking about. Second, you can utilize a mediator. A mediator is a disinterested third party. Generally this is an option used in cases where there is a large number or amount of expenses related to the children. Finally you can litigate the matter in court. Litigation is almost always the most expensive and time consuming way to resolve these issues. However, if you find it necessary, and often it is, to litigate the matter a judge will likely consider several different factors, such as:

  • Parent’s respective incomes. For example a noncustodial parent who can easily afford to help pay for after-school activities, will likely be ordered to do so. But a judge may also find that he/she is not required to pay this expense.
  • The child’s need for supervision. If a child is too young to be left alone in the afternoons or during summer break, then day camps and other activities may be determined necessary to his or her care. If so, the noncustodial parent will probably be partially responsible for their costs.
  • Religious considerations. If both parents clearly intend to raise the child within a particular religion, then both may be held responsible for the costs of religious education and ceremonies.
  • The child’s talents. If a child is extraordinarily gifted in a certain sport, art, or other activity, then lessons in this activity may be considered an important part of his or her upbringing. If so, then both parents will likely be expected to split the costs.
  • Historical considerations, such as have the children always participated in this camp, or that event. If a child has always participated in a camp it is reasonable that a noncustodial parent might be partially responsible for the camp’s cost.

The above listed considerations are just a few examples of the factors the court may consider. As with all family law matters each case is extremely fact specific. Before moving forward consider contacting a child support attorney at The Twiford Law Firm, P.C. 252 -338-4151

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