Who Pays For Extra-Curricular Activities (and school fees) After Divorce?


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Who Pays For Extra-Curricular Activities (and school fees) After Divorce?

Raising children is expensive. Once they start school, the cost of extra-curricular activities such as sports training, music lessons or dance classes adds up. Who pays for these extra-curricular activities?

Who Pays for Extra-curricular Activities After Divorce?

Separation results in one household becoming two. Practically, this means twice the everyday expenses which mean there is less money for things like extra-curricular activities. 

This can be really challenging as participating in sport, music or other activities outside of school can provide an outlet for children. This is very helpful if they have been through a difficult time during their parents’ separation or divorce. 

Meeting the costs of extra-curricular activities is particularly challenging though for separated or divorced parents given their increased cost of living.

Child support as assessed by the Child Support Agency formula is meant to cover all expenses for children including food, housing, schooling, clothing and extra-curricular activities. The Child Support Agency website has an online calculator that is a useful tool to calculate your entitlement to child support or your liability to pay child support depending on income and living arrangements for the children. 

Unfortunately, the amount of child support assessed as payable is usually insufficient to fund costs associated with children such as: 

  • Private health insurance
  • Private school fees
  • Extra-curricular activities
  • Any additional costs due to a child’s ‘special needs’ 

Parents may agree that it is important for their children to attend a private school or participate in extra-curricular activities in which they excel. One parent may be in a better financial position to fund these costs but may not be prepared to simply pay them in addition to the assessed child support liability. 

The parties may choose to enter a child support agreement and have some or all of these payments for extra-curricular activities credited against the paying parent’s child support liability. The amount credited can be up to 100%. Such payments are known as  “non-periodic payments”.  

What To Do To Document Who Pays for Extra-curricular Activities

These extra-curricular costs are not covered by the child support formula and if there is an agreement that one party will fund these costs, the agreement should be documented. 

If you are the payer, you will want some or all of these costs credited against your child support liability. 

If you are the payee, you will want to make sure that you are not liable to a third party for these costs eg. Private school fees.

A Child Support Agreement is a written agreement between both parents. It would provide for the annual rate of child support payable under the administrative assessment to be reduced by a specified amount or percentage (up to 100%) in accordance with the annual value of the child support payable.

Eg. Peter is to pay his son’s school fees of $5,000 per year. The payment is to be made to the school. Peter’s annual child support liability to Sarah is agreed to be reduced by $2,500. 

You should take legal advice prior to entering such a Child Support Agreement. Once entered, the agreement must be lodged with the Child Support Agency for acceptance.  

If you find yourself in this situation, we encourage you to contact us for a FREE consult. Our solicitors can provide sound and practical legal advice on the matter.