This post discusses how the Indiana Child Support Guidelines suggest summer camps and summer activities should be shared by the parents, as well as other practical considerations related to summer expenses.
First, it is important to note that the basic child support payment does not include costs associated with summer camps and the like. Consider the language of the Guidelines:
Other Extraordinary Expenses
The economic data used in developing the Child Support Guideline Schedules do not include components related to those expenses of an ”optional” nature such as costs related to summer camp, soccer leagues, scouting and the like. When both parents agree that the child(ren) may participate in optional activities, the parents should pay their pro rata share of these expenses.
So, when parents agree the costs are generally split pro rata (per the respective income percentages set forth on the child support worksheet or in the support order). However, where parents do not agree the judge, and, therefore the attorneys, will analyze the necessity of the expenses and the reasonableness of the expenses.
Believe it or not, I’ve seen one parent simply not agree to any camps, activities, or extraordinary expenses, because they believe that by not agreeing they can save themselves from having to pay anything towards these expenses. This is not a reasonable position, and it is important to note that the Guidelines do not support this position; rather, they provide that the court can assign the responsibility to pay for these expenses considering:
· Each parent’s ability to pay;
· Which parent is encouraging the activity;
· Whether the child(ren) has/have historically participated in the activity; and,
· The reasons a parent encourages or opposes participation in the activity.
If you are in a dispute involving the responsibility to pay extraordinary expenses please review the Guidelines and the appropriate support order. If these disputes continually occur consider modifying the support order at issue and adding specific provisions to address how decisions regarding extraordinary expenses should be reached and how they will be paid. Sometimes it is helpful to state how long one parent has to reimburse the other parent. Also, mediation, a collaborative law meeting and/or a parenting coordinator are good alternatives to litigation to help resolve these disputes.
To discuss this further please contact me.