Does Child Support Cover Your Kid’s Extracurricular Activities?
In the case of a couple going through a divorce and having any children under the age of 18 years, all formalities related to child support payments are mostly completed before the divorce is finalized. However, in a number of cases, child support payments can be a matter of long discussions and disagreements, making it a very complicated issue.
How Is Child Support Used?
The custodial parent is generally given a lot of freedom to use child support to cover any of a child’s needs. Even though there are no restrictions whatsoever on how a parent receiving child support can or cannot use it, every parent understands that child support, at a minimum, is meant to go towards meeting the child’s basic necessities such as:
- Educational expenses
- Medical expenses
Due to several changes in the child support system, it can often be difficult to keep a tab on how it is calculated, and how it can go towards benefitting the child. These days most children are involved in different kinds of activities and hobbies, which can further complicate this process. The kid(s) may be involved in a number of extracurricular activities that need to be paid for.
What Do You Mean by Extracurricular Activities?
An extracurricular activity refers to any of the different sports, hobbies, clubs, or lessons a child may partake in. For child support, an extracurricular activity is generally considered to be any activity the child chooses to do, outside of his/her school hours. These can include:
- Playing any individual or team sport
- Learning a musical instrument
- Foreign language lessons
- Dance lessons
- Martial arts
- Scouting activities
There also may be cases where children coming from high-net-worth families may take part in extracurricular activities that may be very expensive. If this is the case, depending on the divorce agreement, the non-custodial parent may have to pay extra child support to cover those activities or even pay for them directly.
What if A Parent Does Not Agree with an Extracurricular Activity?
Paying child support for extracurricular activities can become difficult if the parents do not agree on an activity that they consider appropriate for their child. An example of such an activity can be something like learning boxing.
One parent may look at this as a skill and consider it necessary for self-defense while the other may think it is dangerous and can cause physical harm to their child. Or another case can be where one parent thinks the activity is way too expensive and not of any use while the other may consider it to be worth it.
Ultimately, how the money from child support is used depends upon the choice of the custodial parent. The non-custodial parent may only have little room to fight for or against a specific extracurricular activity. Other than that, the custodial parent generally has the freedom to use child support to cover any and every expense they choose.
Fighting against this is very likely to lead to big legal bills, dissatisfaction, and a negative court outcome so therefore you are better off just accepting the extracurricular activity. Such fights related to child support between a divorced couple can often be avoided by establishing honest and open communication when it comes to their child.
The custodial parent should keep in mind any concerns that the non-custodial parent may have before getting their kid indulged in an extracurricular activity and listen to these concerns with an open mind.
What Happens in Cases of Joint Custody?
The child support system may get slightly more complicated if the parents decide to share joint custody. Most often in such cases, the parents are ordered by the court to divide the cost of extracurricular activities equally. However, this may be different if there is a huge income gap between the parents.
Extracurricular Activities Cannot Impact Parent Time
In cases where both parents share some physical custody and are allowed to spend time with their child, any single parent cannot purposefully enroll their child in some sort of an activity that gives them more time or takes away from the other parent’s time, than what had been originally agreed upon.
Depending on the details, such situations are handled by the court takes on a case-by-case basis. Therefore, the judge is responsible to determine what is best for the child while also ensuring that none of the parent’s rights are being violated.
Contact a Seasoned Family Law Attorney in Kentucky
Every divorce case is different, making it essential for you to speak with an experienced family law attorney about the specific circumstances in your case before making any critical decisions. If you are facing the dilemma of filing for divorce and what will happen with child support, do not hesitate to contact our knowledgeable divorce attorneys at John H. Ruby & Associates in Louisville to discuss your situation.
Call us today at (502) 373-8044 or send us an online message for a free, no-obligation consultation.