Extra-curricular Activities and Child Support

"Does child support cover the cost of extra curricular activities?"

Determine whether the expense is necessary and reasonable

Basic child support is intended to cover the ordinary costs of raising a child. When the court orders child support, they can consider tacking on an additional sum to address specifically the issue of extra-curricular activities. These additional funds are meant to cover expenses that are considered as ‘special or extraordinary’ by the Child Support Guidelines. To qualify, the expense must be both reasonable and necessary

Consider these examples: 

A $10 entry fee for a class trip to the community pool will not be enough to meet the ‘special and extraordinary’ criteria for additional funding

A $400 registration fee for basic swimming lessons is another story. If you live near the water, and you are concerned that your child lacks basic swimming skills, this expense would likely be considered necessary and in line with your child’s best interests.  However, it may not be "special and extraordinary" depending on the parents' means and their spending before separation.

A $5,000 enrolment fee for private introductory swimming lessons at an out of town country club would probably not be considered necessary or reasonable if your child is already a skilled swimmer and the expense is out of sync with the means of both parents and their spending patterns before separation.

The facts matter! 

There is no specific dollar amount that tips the scales one way or another. Instead, determining if an expense will qualify for additional support requires a detailed assessment of your particular situation. Your lawyer can help you weigh all of the relevant factors and negotiate changes with your child’s other parent. 

If you have questions or comments about this post, please start a conversation with us on Twitter @freshstartott and @klasanger.

Think someone in your life could benefit from this post?  Please share it using the link below.