Raising children costs money. Whether parents decide to stay together, they are legally responsible for sharing the financial responsibilities of bringing up their children. Even if one parent starts a new family, they are still expected to pay, even if the children are not in their custody. Typically, this comes in the form of child support. However, child support does not necessarily cover all expenses children require, including the cost of extracurricular activities, such as baseball team registration, dance workshops, art classes, and after school homework camp tuition fees.
How the Court Sees Extracurriculars
In Alabama, the law governing child support focuses on income shared between the parents. Both parents need to come up with a reasonable amount that each is expected to contribute monthly. Typically, the parent with a higher income pays more, although other factors come into the picture.
Child support is meant to cover basic expenses for the children, such as food and housing. Yet, many parents are surprised when they learn that it does not cover extracurricular activities. Those activities are extraordinary expenses that should be negotiated in the divorce settlement as part of the parenting plan. In other words, it is up to the divorcing parents and their attorneys to have the foresight to consider how extracurriculars will come into play years down the road.
Types of Extracurricular Activities
An extracurricular activity is any activity that a child engages in that is not necessarily required but would be deemed positive for their development. For instance, taking voice lessons is not a necessity. However, having a well-rounded understanding of music theory or being able to confidently try out for a school musical can boost confidence, add enjoyment, and look attractive to future college admissions counselors.
No definitive list of extracurriculars exists because they are unique to a child. Parents must be open to interpreting how extracurriculars will be decided upon and paid for during their divorce settlement negotiations. For example, do both parents have to agree to pay for all extracurriculars? Is there a cap on the amount each parent will pay? Are certain extracurriculars expected?
Answering these questions early in the process can ward off headaches, not to mention further legal action if one parent sues the other to either compel payment for an extracurricular or get out of paying for what is deemed excessive, rather than customary extracurricular activities.
Huntsville Child Support Lawyers at Hodges Trial Lawyers, P.C. Help Clients Navigate Extracurricular Activity Expectations
If you are you going through a divorce and are wondering how to handle the topic of extracurricular activities for your children, contact the Huntsville child support lawyers at Hodges Trial Lawyers, P.C. today. Call us at 256-539-3110 or complete an online form for an initial consultation. Located in Huntsville and Athens, Alabama, we represent throughout North Alabama, Madison County, Limestone County, Marshall County, Jackson County, Morgan County, and Lauderdale County.