Paying for Extracurricular Activities After a Divorce

Child support is typically required after a divorce or when parents maintain separate households. However, paying for extracurricular activities, such as sports, dance or other hobbies, can be less clear.

Child support amounts are determined by the income of both parents and how much time the child spends with them, among other factors. And while parents are required to ensure that they provide for the necessities of life for their child, usually extracurricular activities are not specified in the divorce agreement and are considered entertainment expenses. Determining who should pay can become contentious if both parents don’t see eye-to-eye about the added expenses.

Often, the parent desiring the participation in the activity is the one who ends up paying for it. While they can ask for help from the other parent, typically there will be no requirement to come up with additional funds. However, parents are free to use established child support orders to pay for expenses for the child, which can include extra classes or costs for hobbies. Also, if an activity is medically necessary for a child (for example, equine therapy for a child with special needs) it may be included as part of court-ordered support.

If sufficient financial resources exist, a court may require a noncustodial parent to pay their share of enrichment activities. If a couple is negotiating a divorce outside of court they may be able to specify who will pay for which expenses. Activities like summer camp also sometimes serve as childcare (if the child is still of the age requiring such care) and are thus considered part of a child support obligation.

It’s not always clear whether your former spouse should be paying for extracurricular activities, so speak with a knowledgeable Long Island child support attorney at Bryan L. Salamone & Associates for more information. 

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