Who pays for kids’ extracurricular activities after divorce?

Who pays for kids’ extracurricular activities after divorce?

Parents going through a divorce might be concerned how the situation might affect their children’s performance in school. According to a UCLA-led study, those fears may be legitimate. Children with divorced parents, the study found, tend to have lower high school graduation rates and are less likely to attend college. Participation in extracurricular activities might be the solution since they help children explore their interests and solidify what they learn in class, but many parents may wonder who should pay for them. Thankfully, North Carolina family law has guidelines regarding this issue.

No legal obligations

When calculating child support, a judge is likely to use a formula focusing on the following four factors: (1) the gross monthly incomes of each parent; (2) the number of overnights the children spend with each parent; (3) work-related childcare expenses; and (4) health insurance premiums paid by either parent. The purpose of child support is to provide for the needs of the children. While extracurricular activities are often valuable to children, they are not always considered necessary. Typically, however, a child support order may include a provision that the parents equally divide the expense of any mutually agreed-upon extracurricular activity expenses.

The custody agreement

Even though North Carolina law has a formula for calculating child support, it does not prohibit parents from negotiating an agreement. That is, parents may determine who pays for extracurricular activities on their own. If the payor pays more than his or her required child support, those extra funds could be earmarked for children’s pursuits outside of the classroom.

Addressing payment for extracurricular activities early in divorce negotiations may help ensure that children do not have to sit on the sidelines during activities in which their friends are participating. Parents who are unsure about these types of issues may do well to seek independent legal advice from a North Carolina attorney experienced in family law. After all, this kind of socialization is typically in the best interest of children.

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