Most people expect to provide support for their children after a divorce or when they decide to separate their households. But when children want to be involved in extracurricular activities like music lessons or sports, the expenses can add up. In these situations, who is responsible for paying for what might be considered non-necessities?
The amount paid for child support is calculated based on a number of factors, including parental income and the percentage of time spent with each parent. Generally speaking, parents are expected to meet the needs of their children. Extracurricular activities can be detailed in a child support agreement, but when this doesn’t happen, they typically fall under the category of entertainment expenses. And divorced parents tend to disagree about the importance of these additional expenses and who should pay for them.
Dividing up the expenses
In practice, the parent who feels most strongly about having the children enjoy the benefit of the activities ends up paying for them. They are free to request financial help from the other parent, but it is often difficult to enforce. They may use child support orders already in place to pay for these extra hobbies or classes, but it often means cutting back in other areas.
The exception is if the activity can be shown to be medically necessary, such as equine therapy for a special needs child. In these cases, the additional expense may become part of the support order. Also, activities that fall under the category of childcare — such as a day camp — often are legitimate expenses falling under the guidelines of a child support agreement.
The issue of who pays for extracurricular activities can be a tough one, so be sure to seek the advice of the knowledgeable child support attorneys with the Law Office of K. Dean Kantaras for answers to your questions.