Wednesday, July 19, 2017
I am often asked as a New Jersey Child Support Lawyer, who pays for extracurricular activities. Extracurricular activities are often a point of contention in a divorce. One parent says, “You know what? Our child plays soccer; he plays volleyball; he plays ice hockey, and he swims.” The other parent says, “That’s great, but that’s four activities, and that’s far too much money.” In those cases, I ask my clients, “What was the standard? What were the children doing when the family was intact? How many activities were they enrolled in during the course of the marriage?” Every family does what’s right for their children. Some feel that one activity per season is enough, while others think two activities per season is appropriate. Your pre-divorce norm should serve as your starting point.
Once that decision is made, the parents would share the cost in proportion to their incomes. The activities themselves need to be agreed upon – and they need to be selected so that they don’t interfere with either party’s parenting time. My classic example is tee-ball. The child is playing tee-ball, and practice is on Tuesdays and Thursdays; but, the non-custodial parent has dinner visits on Tuesday and Thursday nights. Before the child can be enrolled in tee-ball for the upcoming season, the non-custodial parent (or the parent of alternate residence) must be consulted as to whether he or she actually wants to bring the child to practice on those days.
Maybe the parenting time schedule will have to be modified because of this activity. The main thing to remember is that, although these activities are supposed to be enjoyable for the child, it is important that each parent is able to enjoy spending time with the child at these activities. If they’re a constant source of conflict with the parenting time schedule, the parties may need to revisit what’s best for the child.
Are you having issues with your spouse paying for extracurricular activities? Contact dedicated New Jersey Child Support Lawyer Tanya Freeman for guidance.
This educational blog was brought to you by Tanya Freeman, an experienced New Jersey Child Support Lawyer.