Extracurricular Activities, Unreimbursed Medical Expenses, and Child Support
Child support provides for the basic financial expenses involved in raising a child. Things like food, clothing, and shelter. But what about all the things that the basic child support payment doesn’t cover, like children’s extracurricular expenses or unreimbursed medical expenses? How are those expenses shared?
Read on to learn more about child support, unreimbursed medical expenses, and extracurricular activities.
Extracurricular Expenses & Parenting Plans
While unreimbursed medical expenses are not included in child support payments, each parent’s share of unreimbursed medical expenses is established in the child support order. Child support does not include the costs associated with children’s extracurricular activities. Typically, divorce attorneys will include an approach to payment of extracurricular expenses as part of the custody and parenting plan.
Extracurricular activities and out-of-pocket medical expenses can include:
- sports equipment
- musical instruments
- SAT prep courses
- driver’s education
Sharing the Cost of Unreimbursed Medical Expenses
The Connecticut Child Support Guidelines provide for a weekly child support amount. They also determine: (1) the percentage of children’s unreimbursed medical expenses for which each parent is responsible and (2) the same percentage of work-related child care costs.
In other words, normally, you will share the cost of these expenses with your ex-spouse in some proportion, whether it is 50%/50%, 60%/40%, or any other percentage.
Read: Child Support Basics
Sharing Extracurricular Expenses
Unlike unreimbursed medical expenses and work-related child care costs, the Connecticut Child Support Guidelines don’t provide a percentage of extracurricular expenses for which each parent will be responsible. They also don’t determine what extracurricular expenses should be split.
Extracurricular activities and tutoring costs are subject to negotiation between the parents. If negotiations fail and the issue is litigated, it’s possible that a court would decide that they are covered in weekly child support. It’s also possible that the court would order the parents to each pay certain percentages of the expenses.
Many times people agree to pay a percentage of extracurricular costs up to an annual cap so long as the activities are mutually agreed upon by the parents. Other times, parents decide that any expense under a certain amount will be shared, but any expense above a certain amount needs to be discussed and agreed to.
Common Approaches for Paying Extracurricular and Unreimbursed Medical Expenses
Extracurricular activities and unreimbursed medical expenses can be paid for in a number of ways.
Proof of Payment and Reimbursement
When it comes to payment of a child’s extracurricular expenses post-divorce, often one parent pays for 100% of a particular extracurricular activity. That parent is then reimbursed by the other parent for that parent’s share of the expense. Some agreements provide that a parent who fronts the cost of such an expense must send proof of payment to the other parent within some set time period (for example, monthly), at which point the reimbursing spouse has a set period of time by which he or she must reimburse the other parent.
Other agreements contain “true-up” provisions, which require parents, at certain set intervals (for example, monthly or quarterly), to tabulate how much each parent has spent on extra-curricular expenses during that interval, and then determine the appropriate reimbursement payment owed from one parent to the other.
Joint Bank Accounts aka “Activity Funds”
Other parents maintain a joint bank account after their divorce and pay children’s extracurricular expenses out of it. Some parents also use this account for work-related child expenses or unreimbursed medical expenses. Parents with access to a Health Savings Account (HSA), however, are more likely to pay their portion of unreimbursed medical expenses out of the HSA for tax reasons.