With so many children in Michigan returning to class for a new school year this September, you might think that parents get something of a break after a hectic summer. However, we at the law office of Lisa Stern know that back-to-school time poses its own challenges, especially if you are trying to co-parent with an ex-spouse. Some of the most significant of these challenges involve costs related to your child’s school attendance.
Even if your child attends public school, there are expenses involved. Kids need school supplies, new school clothes and lunches, to name a few. There are also often costs involved if your child participates in extracurricular activities.
According to Fox 2, if you have primary custody, it is your responsibility to pay for your child’s school supplies and other unavoidable school-related expenses, usually out of the child support you receive from your co-parent. However, if your custody arrangement includes a 50/50 split, you and your co-parent should each bear at least some responsibility for out-of-pocket expenses such as these. Whether it is fairer to split these expenses equally or proportionately to individual income depends on your particular circumstances.
Extra-curricular activities, being optional, are a different matter. Ideally, your Judgment of Divorce should include an arrangement by which you and your co-parent agree to share the expenses related to these activities. It is common for co-parents to include a provision that each parent must agree to a child’s participation in the activity before any discussion of cost-sharing takes place.
While school-related expenses pose a significant challenge, they are not the only challenge that you and your co-parent face during back-to-school time. It is important to work together as a team to help your child’s school year go as smoothly as possible. More information about custody and co-parenting is available on our website.