Ann Fabrikant, Esq.NJ Divorce and Family Law Attorney
New Jersey Child Support
Are Extracurricular activities included?
Google ‘New Jersey Child Support Guidelines’ and you will immediately be confronted with links to calculators. As any parent knows, children are not numbers and figures. When it comes to matters of divorce and the language in a settlement agreement pertaining to child support, that parent will want to consult with a professional. What is child support? What is covered? Are my child’s extracurricular activities included? These are just some of the questions that will arise.
According to the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines, costs covered by child support include the child’s share of housing, food, clothing, transportation, entertainment, unreimbursed health care expenses up to and including $250 per child per year, and other miscellaneous items. The parent paying the child’s health insurance premium and work-related child care can also receive a credit for those payments in the child support calculations.
A question that comes up often is whether the child’s extracurricular activities are included in the child support amount. The answer is that it depends. Some “entertainment” expenses are already included in these calculations, such as, fees, membership and admissions to sports, recreation, or social events, lessons or instructions, movie rentals, televisions, radios, sound equipment, pets, hobbies, toys, playground equipment, photograph equipment, film processing, video games and recreation, exercise or sports equipment.
That said, certain extraordinary expenses can be considered so large or variable that they may not be included in the basic child support award. Private school tuition or special needs considerations would be examples. Transportation fees incurred for these activities can be included. The court must determine whether these costs are recurring and predictable.
Although many standard extracurricular activities are already included in the basic child support award, two parents can always agree to divide the cost of their child’s specific activities or expenses, in addition to the child support guidelines. It all comes down to the language in your settlement agreement, which is the most important document to come out of your divorce. If coverage is sought beyond that which is included in the guidelines or if you have any questions regarding coverage of extracurricular activities, please contact this office.