Extracurricular Expenses are Expenses Being Paid Voluntarily in Excess of Basic Child Support

These types of expenses are truly “extra” support payments being made and are in addition to, if not duplicative of, the basic child support determined by the guidelines.  They are paid as the result of an agreement of the parties, approved and made the order of court.  The court cannot order them to be paid, without the agreement of the parties, unless the court makes specific findings in its child support order justifying a deviation from the support guidelines.

The Colorado Child Support Commission’s report, upon which the child support statute is based, explains that in arriving at the guidelines amount of child support to be paid it took into account activities that the children may be involved in that fall within the nature of “extracurricular” expenses.  Reference the chart on page 17 of the report and the list and description of basic child rearing expenses included within the amount of basic support to be paid.  Expenses listed that are typically within the category of “extracurricular expenses” include:  Admission to sporting events, recreational lessons, apparel, footwear, uniforms, education fees, and other expenses.  An agreement to pay these types of expenses is an agreement to pay more child support than the statute requires as the amount of basic child support already takes these types of child-rearing expenses into account.

Even though the amount of basic child support is determined by taking extracurricular expenses into account, many times parties will agree to split these expenses in addition to child support.  The cost being divided between the parties is typically 50/50 and is sometimes divided in proportion to the percentage share of the combined gross income reflected on the child support worksheet.

If splitting of extracurricular expenses is agreed upon, then there should be provisions for agreeing upon the activity in advance, how and when the reimbursement request is to be made, and the amount of time in which to make the reimbursement.

If the other parent has sole decision-making regarding extracurricular activities, and the non-custodial parent agrees to share the cost of extracurricular expenses, the non-custodial parent is agreeing to reimburse for expenses over which he or she has no control and is giving a blank check to the custodial parent.

The information provided above is general in nature, is not intended as legal advice for your particular situation and should not be relied upon without first consulting with legal counsel.  Martin Law Firm provides legal representation in child support matters in the Denver Colorado metro area and will tailor its services to your particular needs and unique circumstances.