Do I have to pay for extracurricular activities if I pay child support?

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Do I have to pay for extracurricular activities if I pay child support?

Kids in sports uniforms standing in a huddleWhen people are navigating divorce or separation from their child’s other parent, a significant part of negotiating the new normal is addressing the financial expenses for the children. Child support is the main component of maintaining expenses for the children. But, child support may not always represent the full picture when addressing the needs of the children.

The person paying child support often wants to know do I have to pay for extracurricular activities if I pay child support, and the person receiving child support wants to know whether extracurricular expenses can be paid in addition to child support.

Pursuant to the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines, the child support award includes fixed costs, such as shelter and shelter related expenses, variable costs, such as transportation and food for the child or children and controlled costs, such as clothing, personal care, entertainment, and other miscellaneous expenses. In addition, parents receiving child support are responsible for the first $250 of unreimbursed medical expenses per child per year. In certain circumstances, certain predictable, recurring expenses can also be added to the child support award, which include work related childcare, health insurance costs for the child and additional predictable, recurring unreimbursed health care expenses in excess of the first $250 per child per year for the child. In certain circumstances, additional expenses may be added in as well such as costs related to special-needs and parenting time transportation expenses. So, sometimes you have to pay for extracurricular activities if you pay child support. 

Is summer camp an extracurricular activity?

In most circumstances, summer camp, especially when it serves as work related child care, is a cost shared by the parties in addition to the child support award. Pursuant to New Jersey Court rules, which address child support, the cost of childcare expenses related to work or expenses are eligible to be added to the basic child support guidelines.

How many sports activities should a child do?

When asking if I have to pay for extracurricular activities if I pay child support, often the issue of sports arises. New Jersey child support guidelines reflect that entertainment fees are generally considered part of what child support is intended to satisfy. Entertainment in the guidelines is defined as expenses used for sports lessons and equipment that goes along with those activities. Parents should be cautious not to make unilateral decisions when these issues are being addressed.  If your New Jersey child support order specifies that you are to share extracurricular costs then this would include things like dance lessons, sports leagues, karate lessons, etc. Many parents agree to share these costs, even if the order does not specifically direct them to do so. Often though these expenses are considered to be included in the child support, and therefore paid by the custodial parent.

Definition of extracurricular activities in divorce.

There is often debate over the additional expenses that may be separate from the payment of child support, or the receipt of child support. Unpredictable and or non-recurring costs are not covered by or added into the child support obligation, when discussing whether you have to pay for extracurricular activities if you pay child support . Such costs may include private education, certain extracurricular activities, as well as the expense of special occasions that occur only one time. Examples of such celebrations might be a sweet 16 party or a religious celebration, such as a confirmation, communion, or a bar or bat mitzvah. In addition, college tuition and college tuition related expenses are not added into the child support guideline and will be addressed separately outside of the child support guidelines.

Do you have to pay extra curricular expenses on top of child support? 

Here at DeTorres & DeGeorge, we advocate zealously for our clients. We provide compassionate representation in family law matters, and we ensure that the rights of the child are maintained and the appropriate level of support is being paid for the child. If you have questions about whether you have to pay for extracurricular activities if you pay child support, contact us today to schedule a consultation. We are here to help!

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