The Pennsylvania child support guidelines are used by the courts to determine the child support obligations of parents who are divorced or separated from one another. In addition to the base amount of support, extraordinary expenses of children can also become part of a support obligation. Such extraordinary expenses include private or parochial school tuition, day care costs, music lessons, sports fees, tutoring and other activity fees related to activities in which the the children may be involved.
The court typically allocates the cost of these expenses in the same percentages as each party’s proportional share of the parties’ combined monthly net income. For example, if father’s net monthly income is $6,000 a month and mother’s net monthly income is $2,000 per month, father is responsible for 75% of the cost of these expenses and mother is responsible for 25% of the cost of these expenses.
The extra expenses of the children must be reasonable and in line with the standard of living of the parties. Further, they must be activities that the children were already engaged in before their parents separated, activities mutually agreed upon by both parties or activities that a Judge finds are reasonable for those children in that particular case. For example, a parent cannot send a child to private school and then demand that the other parent pay for the cost of the private school if the other parent does not consent to sending the child to private school in the first place. However, if a Court finds that private school is a reasonable expense, it can overrule the objection of one parent.
Similarly, a parent cannot enroll a child in multiple expensive activities without the other parent’s knowledge or consent and then demand that the other parent pay his or her proportionate share of the costs of these activities unless a Court finds the expenses and the activities to be reasonable.
At times these expenses are included in the monthly support order and at other times these expenses are ordered to be paid directly to the other parent or the provider of the service outside of the court order. Still other times, one parent is directed to pay the expense and then seek reimbursement from the other parent for the expense.
Astor Weiss Kaplan & Mandel, LLP has experienced family lawyers who regularly represents individuals with these issues. Please contact one of our family law lawyers for assistance with your child support issues and related tuition and extracurricular activity expenses.