BACK-TO-SCHOOL!!! CO-PARENTS AND SCHOOL: WHO PAYS FOR WHAT?
For families, September can be a stressful month as children go back to school. Among the many stressors associated with divorce, Back-to-School is perhaps the most anxiety-provoking. Families are no longer just concerned about the cost of backpacks, pencils, and general school supplies, they are now also concerned with mandatory laptops, refillable water bottles, school supplies, and field trips.
Due to the unavoidable separation of income and resources, it is understandable that these concerns are astronomical when parents are separated or divorced. Consequently, the big question arises: who pays for what?
As a parent of a young child entering the school system, you may wonder how to split costs such as backpacks, lunches, running shoes, and Out of School programs. In the event that you receive or make child support payments, these payments will be adjusted to reflect the extra cost of starting a new school year. Most parents will agree to share the school expenses and divide up the supply list. With a little bit of planning, everyone can have a much easier time.
Special and Extraordinary Expenses (as defined by the Federal Child Support Guidelines) are those expenses above and beyond the normal day-to-day costs associated with raising children. In general, parents share Special and Extraordinary Expenses according to their respective incomes.
Two questions determine who should pay, and how much:
1. Whether the expense is reasonable; and
2. Whether the expense is necessary.
A court’s determination of whether or not an expense is reasonable is largely based on its cost.
- When parents have lower incomes, fewer expenses will be considered reasonable. A parent’s need for daycare is almost always considered reasonable since this extra expense allows them to work.
- Enrollment in an expensive sport such as ice hockey or Polo might seem reasonable to parents with mid- to high incomes.
- For parents with high incomes, attending a private school might be considered reasonable.
The expense might not be reasonable, but it may be necessary – even if it imposes some hardship on the parents. The court weighs necessity against the child’s best interests. Examples might include:
- Medical costs.
- Special tutoring or counseling services.
- Where a child has a special talent or gift, the costs associated with nurturing and encouraging
that child’s talent.
Expenses related to post-secondary education, such as tuition, housing, books, and electronics, may also be covered under section 7. When a child turns 18, child support does not automatically cease. It is possible for a child to receive child support payments after he or she turns 18 if he or she has not withdrawn from parental control.
Parental support for adult children can be determined by a number of factors. A parent’s contribution to their child’s postsecondary education is not governed by any statutory or legal rules.
Divorced parents may face a lot of “firsts” as the new school year approaches. The situation is particularly pressing when the child is just beginning their academic career or entering post-secondary education. When starting school, you may need to decide whether you’ll attend parent-teacher meetings together or separately. You may ask if both of you will drive to school together to meet and greet their new teacher.
We have a team of FAMILY LAW ASSOCIATES at OSUJI & SMITH CALGARY LAWYERS who have a wealth of experience dealing with the issues you are facing. SCHEDULE YOUR CONSULTATION NOW!
Author: Lydia Iboko