When most married couples who have children get divorced, they will strive to keep the lives of their children as normal as possible, despite the upheaval of the divorce. This is one of the reasons why, in many divorce cases, one of the parents will remain in the marital home so that their kids’ living arrangements will not change and what their daily lives look like can be maintained. One of the issues that affects a divorced couples’ children is the various extracurricular activities they are involved in and whether and how those activities should be continued. If so, who should have to pay for the extracurricular activities? Can one parent end participation for their children like soccer without informing the other parent? Can one parent enroll their children into new activities such as summer camp without the approval of the other parent?
What Is Included in Maryland Child Support?
Divorced couples with young children understand the concept of child support. With almost all divorced couples who have children under the age of 18, one or the other parent must pay child support. Sometimes it does not happen, but that is rare. Child support is intended to cover a child’s living expenses, such as housing, food, clothing, and any special needs they may have. Additionally, child support should factor in common expenses necessary for the family such as work-related childcare expenses, school supplies, as well as medical insurance premiums, co-pays, medical out of pocket costs, transportation expenses, and related costs. It can also be used to pay for other necessities like educational expenses, including tuition, books, supplies, and uniforms. However, extracurricular activities are not included into the equation when factoring in the total amount of child support. Extracurricular activities are dealt with outside of child support.
Does a Parent Have to Pay Anything Toward Extracurricular Activities?
The base standard in Maryland is that a parent does not have to pay any money towards any extracurricular activity if they choose not to. The only time a parent would have to pay for sports or camp is if they are ordered to pay by the judge or agreed to pay for various extra things in a child support agreement that they voluntarily entered with the other parent, and it was approved of and adopted by the judge. Here are the types of extracurricular activities that we usually see in our Maryland family law practice:
- After school activities
- Summer camps
- Special classes beyond what is taught in regular school
- Clubs such as girl scouts and boy scouts
- Other non-school related activities
Technically, the only time the extra activities costs are required to be shared are when it has been agreed to in a separation agreement and that agreement has been submitted to the judge and made a part of the official child support order. If one parent is not paying for the cost of whatever extracurricular activities are listed in the agreement, the other parent can move to have them held in contempt of court.
Child Support Requirements in Maryland
Maryland child support obligations are calculated according to the state’s Child Support Guidelines, which are established law. The calculations that are used to determine child support amounts are the parents’ gross incomes. The guidelines and calculations must be used for every case where the parent’s gross monthly income is less than $15,000. If a parent makes more than that amount per month, a judge may choose not to use the guidelines and come up with a different calculation and rationale for the amount that is ordered to be paid in child support. In addition to the parents’ incomes, the guidelines also consider:
- The number of children each parent supports, such as children from other marriages and relationships
- The number of overnight stays each parent spends with the child
- Which parent bears responsibility for health insurance, dental insurance, and other medical expenses
- Which parent pays for work-related childcare, if necessary
- Which parent pays for private school tuition (if that is the case)
- The transportation costs for visitation borne by each parent to meet the visitation schedule approved by the judge.
How a Lawyer Could Help?
Having a skilled and knowledgeable Maryland family law attorney on your side goes a long way in making sure your rights are protected, the law is followed, and you have the best outcome possible with your divorce, the property settlement agreement, and with the issue of child support. If you need help with either establishing a child support order or modifying an order, or even enforcing a child support order, having a good lawyer on your side can do the following:
- Answering your questions about child support and what it covers, as well as how it is calculated
- Calculating the child support amount you will likely have to pay or you will likely receive
- Collecting evidence and making arguments to the court that the guidelines should not be followed due to extenuating circumstances, such as evidence of inability to pay or evidence of extraordinary necessary expenses
- Filing petition with the court to enforce an existing child support order
- Advocating on your and your child’s behalf for modification of a child support order, if necessary.
The Towson Family Law Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Provide Skilled and Experienced Counsel Regarding Child Support Agreements and Orders
Settling a divorce can become complicated quickly, especially if you and your spouse have children. The Towson family law lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC have decades of experience in successfully handling complex and difficult divorces and child support agreement negotiations. Call 443-589-0150 or contact us online today to schedule a free and confidential consultation or contact us online. From our offices in Hunt Valley and Towson, Maryland we assist clients in 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.