The end of August brings something every parent looks forward to and every kid dreads: back-to-school. For parents this means new clothes, shoes, supplies, maybe a backpack or lunch box. If your child is involved in any sports or other extracurricular activities that start up in the fall, you can also count on fees, uniforms, equipment, travel, and other expenses to support those activities outside of the classroom. Estimates show that school supplies and activity fees average around $510 per household. In other words, this time of year has parents seeing all the dollar signs associated with their children heading back-to-school.
As a parent who pays or receives child support, it is important to know what that support is intended to cover. The obvious categories include clothing, food and shelter. The less clear “miscellaneous” category includes things like personal hygiene products, insurance and school supplies. So, what if the current payments aren’t enough to sustain all of these “seasonal” costs?
If you are a parent who is worried about these extra costs that come with the back-to-school season, you have a few options to consider. Requesting a modification to increase support to cover the rising cost of expenses like these is becoming more commonplace. It is important to remember that the court will use discretion for these cases when deciding how much, if any, to increase the payments to cover a portion of the expenses. Another solution to consider is splitting the back-to-school costs outright. Parents could choose to go 50/50 on these expenses or they can use other percentages based on the income each one makes.
If you’re having trouble covering the cost of back-to-school and want to discuss your options, consult with your family law attorney. They will ensure you and your child are set up for the upcoming semester.