Summer Activities And Parental Cost Sharing
Children’s activities over the summer months often include camps, sports, and other activities that can be very expensive. For parents who are no longer together, sharing these costs is not always an easily resolved issue. Parents may not always agree that the child should take part in a particular activity and may therefore not want to pay for it. Other parents may agree to the activity but think that the cost of the activity is too high.
If the summer camp or activity is part of an ongoing yearlong extracurricular activity the child participates in, then the costs of the summer part of that activity may already be worked into the child support order. Courts may consider the known costs of extracurricular activities when determining the award of child support.
For summer costs that replace daycare or other child care options, the couple should already have an order in place outlining what share of the costs the couple should pay. Therefore, the child care costs should be applied to the summer program. This may also be the case with a summer activity that is a required educational expense, or recommended for a medical condition suffered by the child. How the educational and medical costs of the child are shared is generally decided when child support issues are decided.
In other situations, handling summer costs becomes a matter of negotiation. If one parent prefers the child to take part in one summer activity, while the other parent does not agree, then sharing costs can become difficult. In such a situation, the parent advocating for the activity in question may have to pay for the costs by himself. While the parent could take the matter to court and seek a judge’s resolution of whether or not the costs should be shared, it may be expensive to do this, and the court may not rule in favor of the parent who is taking the case to court.
Seeking a modification by going to court may also be necessary if the children have grown up and are involved in more activities than at the time child support payments and extracurricular fees were awarded.
If both parents agree that the child would benefit from taking part in a summer camp or activity, then the parent may also agree to divide the cost of the activity. This may be in the child’s best interest, and would make the child’s attendance while on either parent’s parenting time more likely.
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The parents’ agreement on how to handle summer costs before enrolling the children in activities would make things easier for all involved. However, if the parents cannot agree on the division of costs, and the activity may be a recurring expense, it may be necessary to seek a modification to an existing child support order to accommodate the added costs. Contact our experienced child support lawyers at the Law Offices of Schwartz | White in Boca Raton, Florida, for a consultation on how to handle this and other child support-related issues.