Who Pays Educational & Extracurricular Activity Expenses

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 very quickly.

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 the parents.

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.