Addressing the Cost of Children’s Extracurricular Activities in Divorce
As children grow, they somehow manage to remain as expensive as, or even more so, than their younger, in-diaper selves. When parents in Utah divorce while the children are young, often they don’t think about the extraordinary expenses that come with tweens and teens as they find their niche. It’s unclear early on if Johnny or Suzie will excel at sports, drama, dance, music, scouts, or any other hobby/activity. Costs for these extra curriculars adds up and can put a real burden on custodial parents, who often are the most involved in their children’s extracurricular interests. There are ways to plan and address these expenses before they happen so that the burden can be shared equally.
If you need help determining the best option for you and your children, schedule a free consultation with a Provo divorce lawyer from Larsen Law Firm.
Child’s best interests
In all cases, Utah Family Courts will look to try to determine the child’s best interests and rule along that line. One of the common presumptions along which judgements are made is that the children would presumably have had access to various activities if their parents had stayed together. As such, judgements try to come along this line.
In this case, parents divide the costs for extracurricular expenses evenly. Problems arise if one parent doesn’t comply with payment terms or refuses to pay since they disagree with the child’s participation in the activity. This can be set up so each parent pays directly to the team, school, etc. Sometimes, the order is that one parent pay 100 percent of the fee due, with the other parent reimbursing. Clearly, this can become an issue if both parents don’t comply with the court order.
Sometimes, parents can agree on a set amount to pay for extraordinary expenses per child and divide that equally. They each put aside that amount into an account in a lump sum (tax refund?) or bit by bit. Expenses are paid from this amount. Again, problems can occur if one or both parents don’t comply.
You take Suzie, I’ll take Sammy
Some parents simply divide the children and one is responsible for one child, while the other is responsible for the other. Ideally, this should be roughly equal amounts. If it isn’t, parents can alternate years, etc.
If you are looking to modify an existing order to include extracurricular activities or just starting the process of getting a divorce, Larsen Law Firm can match you with a qualified divorce attorney in Provo.