When it comes to children, their needs are dynamic, and what they need financially today may not represent what they need tomorrow. Kids grow, take on new hobbies and interests, and that necessarily means more expenses — expenses that you may not have planned for or anticipated if your divorce (and resulting child support obligations) were established when the child was younger.
Of course, not every one of the child’s needs as he or she grows requires a revisiting or modification of child support. But there are some things that New Jersey courts will consider when it comes to adding child support to the paying spouse’s financial obligations.
Activities and Extracurriculars
Extracurricular activities can be expensive. Some may require travel that the club, organization, or school requires to be part of the group. Equipment, lessons, instruments, athletic gear, team dues, or other supplies may all be needed so that the child can pursue his or her interests.
There is no specific line item in the New Jersey child support guidelines for extracurricular activities; often, they are included in the general “entertainment” category. However, there is a line for “court-approved extraordinary expenses.” So, if your child participates in an activity that is unusually expensive or if your child excels in an activity, for example, your child makes an all-state talent show for her dancing and that costs extra money, that is an expense you could request the other parent to share.
More Expensive School Supplies
School supplies are another area that is often overlooked when the child is very young, as the child may not even be in school at that time. Supplies oftentimes are just thrown into a miscellaneous category in the child support guidelines, and very little may have been put in there.
As the child grows, school supplies are more expensive and more necessary. What was a necessary bunch of folders in first grade has now become a computer tablet that the child needs in ninth grade. A parent can ask the other parent to contribute their fair share of necessary school supplies.
You can certainly negotiate with the other parent to see if they are willing to contribute to these expenses. If so, and it is in writing, it is as enforceable as if it was in the original child support obligation.
If the other parent is not agreeable, you may need to go to a judge and ask the judge to compel the other parent to pay his or her fair share. For essential items that contribute to the child’s well-being, courts often will add support if a showing can be made.
Contact our New Jersey family law and divorce attorneys at The Law Office of Agnes Rybar LLC today for help with any child support problem you may have.