Who Pays for Extracurricular Activities After a Divorce?

Written by Jonathan Breeden

May 15, 2020

All parents know that raising children is expensive. From the diapers in the first years to the clothes they consistently grow out of, children demand a great deal of financial sacrifice. As they get older, extracurricular activities, like sports, music lessons, band, dance classes, and martial arts get added to your child’s calendar.

Unfortunately, these activities are not cheap. There are still fees, equipment, and outfits to purchase.

For many divorced parents in North Carolina, this raises the following question: “Who pays for extracurricular activities?

If you and your ex cannot agree on who pays for the soccer cleats or pointe shoes, it is best to contact an experienced North Carolina child support lawyer.

With over 20 years experience and local offices in Raleigh, Garner, Angier, and Smithfield, attorney Breeden can help explain your obligations, options, and how to get the best for your child. Call (919) 205-5254 today or contact us online to schedule a consultation.

Child Support Basics in North Carolina

Child support in North Carolina is paid from one parent to another. At a minimum it should go toward:

  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Shelter
  • Health insurance
  • Educational expenses

There are also additional expenses a court may consider when determining an appropriate child support amount. These additional expenses include child care, and additional medical costs, among other necessary expenses. For example, it can mean special, private elementary or secondary schools, and transportation costs associated with moving a child between your two homes.

How Child Support May be Used

There are no restrictions in North Carolina on how a parent receiving child support may use it.

If you pay support to your child’s other parent, you cannot dictate how it is used and vice versa. However, if you and your ex entered into a contract regarding child support, and that contract was accepted by the court, it may be legally enforced.

Whoever receives child support can use it towards your child’s extracurricular activities. In other words, if you pay support to your child’s other parent, they may use the money for school-related and extracurricular activities.

Unless you can prove your child’s basic needs are not being met, you have no standing to require your child support payments to go to other expenses. In many cases, parents simply disagree with the activities an ex-spouse has enrolled their child in. In which case, you should speak to a family law attorney about other options.

Who Pays for Extracurriculars after a Divorce?

Typically, if you have less time with your child and pay support, the other parent writes the checks for extracurricular activities. This money may or may not come from your child support payment.

If you and the other parent have joint physical custody, the Court may order that the cost of these activities be split evenly.

Parents Can Work Payments Out Themselves

You and your ex have every right to work out the arrangement that is best for you and your child. If you negotiated a child support plan together, you may include extracurricular activities and how they will be paid. This issue can also be negotiated down the road.

Can My Ex Ask Me to Pay More for Extracurriculars?

A common issue after a divorce is that one spouse will ask the other to contribute more than their child support obligation to cover extracurricular activities.

While you may choose to pay more to cover a child’s activities, you are not required to. The agreed-upon or court-ordered child support plan should cover entertainment and extracurriculars in addition to your child’s basic needs.

Extracurricular activities are not a separate issue that the court considers when calculating child support. If your support amount does not cover extracurricular activities, then your ex – as the custodial parent – may have to pay these costs independently.

Do You Have Questions About Child Support?

As children get older or become interested in new things, additional expenses come up. This can be hard on the custodial parent’s budget and difficult for divorced parents to deal with.

As an experienced and practical North Carolina child support attorney, attorney Jonathan Breeden is ready to help.

If the child support amount you receive is not enough, he will fight for you to receive more help. Attorney Breeden also knows that situations change. Let us assist you with modifying existing child support plans to allocate expenses, so your child gets everything they need.

Contact Breeden Law Office online, or call (919) 205-5254 to schedule your confidential consultation.


Divorce In North Carolina: What You Need To Know

A book by Jonathan Breeden