While it is clear that there is a formula for the payment of basic child
support, I am frequently asked whether basic child support includes educational
and extracurricular activity expenses.
The court has the authority to award either or both of these types of expenses
however the circumstances are different in each situation. Generally,
extracurricular activity fees are deemed included in the basic child support
award. However, in some cases based upon the income of the parents, the
talents of the child, the past enrollment of the child or other special
situations the court may direct that additional sharing on a pro rata
basis of these expenses take place.
Some parents will specifically create limits for these expenses by stating
not to exceed one activity per child per season or not to exceed a certain
dollar amount per child per year. When children are playing on a travel
team or have special equipment and uniforms these expenses can add up
Educational expenses can be ordered by the court without a special showing
of the needs of the child. However, the court will exercise its discretion
in determining the amount and type of these expenses. For example the
usage of a tutor, college admission tests, and AP test fees may be granted
far more easily than private school elementary or high school tuition.
The age of the child is clearly a factor as well as past practices of
If these issues arise, it is best to have an experienced matrimonial attorney
at your side so that the nuances of the law may be explained and how the
law will be applied to your particular case.