Who Is Responsible For Paying For Summer Camps?
Posted by Ramos Law Group, PLLC | Child Support
The school year is over and children across Texas are rejoicing over the break from classes, warm weather, and longer days. However, many working co-parents do not see this time of year as cause for celebration. Your schedules likely do not change, which means you need to review various childcare options to keep kids busy, engaged, and out of trouble. Summer camp remains a top choice for meeting all these needs, and there are a wide variety of options available for children of all ages and interests. Often, you may not even need to change your parenting time schedule to accommodate summer camp activities.
Still, while the decision to send children to summer camp might be an easy one, there is always the issue of cost. Even a co-parenting situation where there is no dispute over child support may have concerns about funding something that is not really a basic necessity. At the same time, summer camp offers education, enrichment, and social skills that most certainly support the child’s development.
As such, there is no easy answer to the question of who is responsible for paying for summer camps. What you CAN do is work with a Texas child support attorney who will advise you on your rights, whether you are requesting the fees or might be paying them. You can also review the legal process for modifying child support to address expenditures like summer camp.
Review The Current Child Support
In some cases, the matter of paying for summer camp is contained within the child support order or final decree of divorce on file with the court. You may not see the exact terminology, but summer camp will typically fall under extracurricular activities; other examples are sports, music lessons, and club memberships. Texas law permits a court to award child support to cover these expenses because they are viewed as being beneficial to the child’s well-being.
If your child support order is silent on payments for extracurricular activities, you may need to take legal action. However, even when such a provision exists, there can still be disputes over:
- The choice of summer camp;
- Fees for the program; and
- Transportation and logistics.
Disagreements over child support can be serious, since the order is a type of private law that demands compliance by the paying parent. Civil penalties and even criminal sanctions are possible, so you may need to go to court to resolve disputes.
Contested Hearings On Modifying Child Support
When issues arise over child support, the parent seeking a change will initiate the legal process by filing a petition for modification. To support his or her position, the petitioner will need to allege:
- The circumstances of the child or parent affected by the order have materially, substantially changed since it was entered; OR
- At least three years have passed since the current order was entered, and a new order would change the amount at least 20 percent when evaluated by Texas child support guidelines.
If you qualify under #2, child support will be modified according to the guideline amounts – and a parent can request that the judge include language on summer camp. You could also move forward with a strategy under #1, but it may be challenging to prove a correlation between material change and summer camp.
Working Out Child Support By Agreement
Texas law encourages parents to agree on issues related to child custody, parenting time and visitation, and child support. After reviewing the above information on how to change child support, you will probably want to at least try to compromise. The benefits are considerable:
- A contested hearing can take time, but summer camp will not wait. Executing an agreement can be accomplished quickly with help from your lawyer.
- The judge will review the agreement to ensure it meets the child’s best interests, but the court usually enters the appropriate orders right away.
- You will not be stressed over having to testify in court and take time off work.
- Your child can enjoy a memorable summer at camp instead of waiting for the legal process to advance.
Talk To A Texas Child Support Lawyer About Concerns
Though this information may not give you a definitive answer to who is responsible for paying for summer camp in your specific case, it is useful for understanding what to expect. Regardless of which side you take, it is important to retain experienced counsel for disputes over modifying child support. For more information, please contact The Ramos Law Group, PLLC to set up a consultation at our offices in Houston, TX. We can advise you on your options after reviewing your situation.