As the end of the school year approaches, parents are beginning to make their summer child care arrangements. Kids may go to a favorite day camp, spend time with a trusted sitter, or spend weeks at an overnight sleepaway camp. Deciding how kids will spend their summer and who will pay the costs of these child care arrangements can be a complicated process for divorced parents.
There are summer camps for just about every interest a young child can imagine: outdoors camps, sports camps, and those for children with a passion for the performing arts. While they are a wonderful way to spend long summer days, they also come at a substantial cost.
If your Property Settlement Agreement (PSA) does not specifically address summer child care expenses, this may be a source of contention between you and your former spouse.
The following are some points to consider when making summer plans for the children, and tips for making the negotiation process a bit less stressful for you and your former spouse.
Parenting Agreements and Summer Child Care Expenses
In the best-case scenario, a plan for covering the cost of summer child care is included in your parenting plan. Some co-parents divide the expenses in half. Others split them proportionately based on their income and expenses.
If you have younger children, be sure to consider these costs when working with your Burlington County child custody lawyer on your parenting agreement. Many couples overlook this crucial detail and find themselves scrambling to arrange child care that makes both parents happy as the school year comes to an end.
Is Summer Camp a Necessity?
If your PSA does not address summer camp expenses, the Court will need to determine if camp is a necessary “child care” expense versus a discretionary expense. Camp would be considered a necessity if it takes the place of regular child care during the hours that parents are working,
If one parent is willing and able to supervise the child during camp hours, or if the child is old enough to stay home without supervision, summer camp may not be considered a necessity, and the non-obligated parent would not be required to pay for it.
Have You Included Your Former Spouse in the Summer Plans?
A 2009 New Jersey Appellate Division unpublished case – as such, non-binding on other courts – ruled in favor of a non-custodial father who was required to pay summer camp expenses for his child without being notified ahead of time by his former spouse. You should discuss all potential summer child care plans and costs with your former spouse to prevent unpleasant disputes and a potential trip to court. This goes for summer vacations, sports, and any other activities that your children want to be involved in during the summer months.
Keeping your former spouse out of the loop opens the door for hard feelings, as well as bitter and costly legal battles.
It is important to consider the unique needs of your family to ensure that summer child care and other details are resolved during the divorce process, and prevent disputes down the road. To discuss the mediation process or learn what is involved in a co-parenting plan, schedule a free initial consultation with the caring and compassionate attorneys.
We are here to answer your questions, discuss your legal options, and advocate for you and your children at every stage of the divorce process. Call 856-751-5505 or contact us online to get started today. With locations in Marlton and Somers Point, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients in Camden County, Burlington County, Atlantic County, and throughout South Jersey.