Here’s a frequently asked question: “Do I need to pay the cost of my children’s extracurricular activities in addition to child support in the State of Georgia?” Legally speaking, the answer, as always, is complicated.
A client will come into my office with their divorce or child custody decree in hand, wanting modification. I will see that they agreed, or the court ordered, to not only pay child support but, on top of that, pay for 50% of the extracurricular expenses for their children. They tell me that they thought, and their attorneys advised them, that this was a normal part of child support. I’ve handled this situation over and over again.
Georgia Law and Extracurricular Expenses
Paying extracurricular expenses in addition to full child support is not consistent with Georgia law. The case Park-Poaps v. Poaps (351 Ga. App. 856) clarifies that the cost of usual and ordinary extracurricular expenses is already included in your basic child support obligation.
In Georgia, also agreeing to pay 50% of the children’s extracurricular expenses, in addition to your child support obligation, means you are double paying!
However, this does not mean the court is without power to also award a portion of the children’s extracurricular expenses on top of child support. To do so, the court must make special findings and follow the statutory requirements. This should happen only where the children have unusual extracurricular expenses or higher income cases where the statutory elements are satisfied more often than in lower-income cases.
In any case, whether the child support paying parents is high income or low, one should never agree to pay extracurricular expenses on top of child support without first understanding the law. In most cases, this expense is covered in your basic child support obligation.
Do you want to know more about child support obligations and extracurricular expenses?
We are Georgia divorce and child custody attorneys. This is all we have done since 1995. We can help. If you need help or have any questions, we would be happy to speak with you via email, text, or phone. Check us out at www.shawlaw.com
Shaw Law Firm, PC
(770) 594-8309 (phone or text)