Who Pays for a Child’s Extracurricular Activities After a Divorce in Florida?
As a baseline, child support obligations are determined in accordance with Florida’s official child support guidelines. Of course, in the real world, every family faces its own unique set of circumstances. As an example, it is not uncommon for children to participate in (costly) extracurricular activities. While some activities are relatively inexpensive, others can easily cost many thousands of dollars per year.
After a divorce, many parents have questions about who exactly is responsible for covering the cost of extracurriculars. The answer depends on several different factors. In this article, our top-rated Tampa child support lawyers highlight the key things you need to know about child support, extracurricular activities, and Florida law.
Florida’s Child Support Guidelines are Ill-Suited to Cover Extracurriculars
The first thing to know about extracurricular activities in Florida is that our state’s standardized child support guidelines do not include a mechanism to cover these costs. In other words, extracurriculars are simply not a factor that will be taken into consideration when the standard state guidelines are applied to any specific case.
To be clear, this does not mean that it is impossible to get a Florida court to require the other parent to contribute to these costs. Family law courts can deviate from the child support guidelines when deemed appropriate. Still, a parent seeking additional support to cover extracurriculars would have the legal burden of proving that such an expense is appropriate and the (full or partial) responsibility of the other parent.
Costs Should Be Addressed in a Child Support Settlement and a Parenting Plan
The best way to handle the cost of extracurricular activities is to work towards a proactive settlement and an ongoing financial plan. Indeed, it is recommended that you address these expenses as part of a child support settlement and a parenting plan. Not only is it easier to produce a fair solution through a settlement, but it will help to ensure that the child’s activities are not a source of conflict in your family. All parents want to spare their children from stress during a divorce.
As an example, imagine that parents spend $3,000 per year on dancing lessons for a child. If both parents believe that lessons should continue through the divorce, they should try to find a way to effectively divide these costs during their settlement. If they are unable to do so, it could lead to a protracted legal dispute. An experienced child support lawyer can help you work towards a collaborative, just solution with your former partner.
Schedule a Confidential Consultation With a Florida Child Support Attorney
At Bubley & Bubley, P.A., our passionate Tampa child support lawyers have deep experience handling complex child support cases. We advocate for parental rights and we help clients find the best solutions. If you have questions about extracurricular activities, we are more than ready to help. For a fully private review of your case, please contact us right away. Our child support attorneys represent parents in Tampa and throughout the wider region in Hillsborough County.