With the summer months approaching quickly, children will be getting out of school soon. In some households, children will be turning their attention toward summer camp. Summer camp can be fun and exciting for a child. It is the chance to see certain friends again or engage in specific activities, including swimming, boating, and other crafts. For parents, the experience may not be as much fun due to the expenses. The matter can be even more complicated for parents who are divorced.
In terms of who bears the primary financial responsibility for summer camps, it is not as clear-cut. There are several factors that go into that decision, including how the court classifies summer camp and if there was any provision for summer camp included in the parenting plan. Typically, if summer camp is a necessity, it is split between the parents. Those who are having a difficult time coming to a resolution on how to finance their child’s summer camp might need to take their grievance to court.
When is Summer Camp Classified as Child Care?
There are two main aspects of child custody. Physical custody pertains to the actual physical location where the child will be primarily residing. Legal custody refers as to the person who will be making the important decisions in the child’s life. If the parent who has legal custody of the child works and needs child care, the court will classify summer camp as an extension of child care, and it can be included in the parenting plan. Child care is considered a necessary until the child reaches a certain age.
Once the child reaches that age, they will no longer require child care, and the custodial parent cannot claim summer camp as a needed expense. That means if they chose to send the child to camp, they will have to pay for it out of their own pocket. They can still use a portion of the child support payments that they receive from their ex-spouse. However, they cannot request that the court intervenes and requests additional child support payments.
Which Parent Decides if the Child Goes to Summer Camp?
Divorcing parents will establish a comprehensive parenting plan that will outline numerous decisions about the child pertaining to medicine, education, and religion. It is in this plan where the couple can lay out summer camp arrangements. If they fail to do so, they might have to re-visit the plan.
The easiest action is to come to an agreement during the divorce proceeding about camp and decide how the parents will pay for it. Detailing the specifics of the time the child will go to camp and who will be responsible for paying for it in the parenting plan will alleviate future issues.
What are My Options for Negotiating Camp Tuition?
The parenting plan is a blueprint for how the parents will raise their children going forward. It should lay out the plan that will cover the child’s education and who will cover different expenses, including summer camp. It is the most comprehensive way to determine parameters for child custody in Maryland. The problem is at the time of the divorce, the child may not have wanted to go to summer camp. There is also the chance that while arguing or negotiating on other aspects of the parenting plan, summer camp could just slip through the cracks.
When these circumstances arise, the ideal situation is for the couple to sit down and attempt to amicably negotiate their plan to send their child to summer camp. If the couple manages to come to a reasonable solution on their own, they can avoid having to go down a more formal setting, such as court. This also allows them to move forward with their plan quickly, thus ensuring that there is no delay in the child’s plan to go to camp. This works best if the couple maintains an open and working relationship for the benefit of their child.
How Should I Handle an Uncooperative Ex-Spouse?
The ex-spouses may have failed to incorporate summer camp into their parenting plan, and they may not be on the same page. This can make negotiating summer camp more complicated. However, a parent owes it to their child to exhaust all avenues of communication. That starts with reaching out to their ex-spouse directly as an initial step. If those attempts fail or the other parent is not being responsive, the custodial parent can take that person to court.
If a parent is making regular child payments and then takes on the additional expense of the tuition for summer camp, they can seek a pause to child support payments. They can petition the court to temporarily pause those payments for a few months while they pay the tuition. Parents should be warned not to take it upon themselves to pause the payments without consent from the court. If they do so without the court’s permission, it could result in a contempt charge. That charge could carry serious punishments, including jail time.
When a parent does decide to send their child to summer camp, they must notify the other parent. Even if the other parent does not approve of the child attending camp, the parent should know. A court will not appreciate it if a parent makes these types of decisions without first informing the other parent.
When Should I Speak to My Ex-Spouse About Summer Camp?
Having the conversation with an ex-spouse about the prospect of summer camp should take place as soon as possible. A spouse will know the relationship they have with their ex-spouse and the likelihood of them agreeing to help pay for the tuition.
The parent should be prepared to front the money for the tuition in case they have to wait for an obstinate ex-spouse or for the courts to render its decision on the matter. Regardless, the best interests of the child should be of paramount concern to both parents and the court.
Bel Air Child Custody Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Help Parents Determine Who Will Pay for Summer Camp Expenses
With the summer months approaching, you need a financial plan in place to help pay for your child’s summer camp. The Bel Air child custody lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC can help you work with your ex-spouse to develop a plan that fits your budget and schedule. Call us at 443-589-0150 or contact us online today to schedule a free consultation. Located in Hunt Valley and Towson, Maryland, we serve clients throughout Baltimore, Baltimore County, Bel Air, Bentley Springs, Columbia, Freeland, Hereford, Hampton, Westminster, Essex, Monkton, Sparks Glencoe, Parkton, Phoenix, Pikesville, White Hall, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County.