We live in a time where some children start music classes at 6-months, baseball at age 3, and computer coding classes at six. Unfortunately, a life of enrichment and attention for kids can fall through the cracks if child support laws leave the custodial parent with all of the financial burdens of these often significant expenses.
New York’s Child Support Laws & Add-Ons
Basic child support in New York is determined by a formula in accordance with the Child Support Standards Act. In addition to basic child support, the New York Domestic Relations Law provides that parents share “add-ons” in proportion to their income, which are additional expenses for the children, including unreimbursed health care expenses, childcare while the custodial parent is working, and educational expenses.
While the Domestic Relations Law is clear as to what is included in child support and add-on expenses, equally important is what is not included. These expenses are often overlooked when negotiating a child support agreement and can really add up over the years.
While the court considers unreimbursed medical expenses as “add on” expenses, there is a long list of “medical” expenses that do not clearly fall into the category, like:
- Homeopathic regimes
- Dietary alternatives
- Over the counter medications
Even when extracurricular activities are included as an “add-on” expense, there are far more expenses to consider than just the fees for your child to participate. Often, the cost of required gear and equipment exceeds the registration costs and, if not anticipated, can be a big financial burden. There are dance recital fees, costume costs, competition fees, protective gear, different cleats for every sport, bats, balls, lacrosse sticks, helmets, and the list goes on and on. The cost of competitive dance, gymnastics, and sports are significant, and so are the often-overlooked costs associated, such as tournaments and travel for out-of-state events.
Additional Expenses to Care for Your Child
Childcare expenses can be expanded to include camp if it also serves as childcare, but even in circumstances where the parties agree to share the camp expenses, issues can still arise for payment of unanticipated costs not included with camp tuition. For sleepaway camp, expenses can add up to thousands of dollars for clothing, bedding, packing trunks, and bus service. The end-of-summer gratuity tips for counselors are not classified as “necessary” but can add up, too.
Educational expenses, even when defined as an “add-on expense,” is another category that can be a significant financial burden due to unexpected extras like social clubs, class trips, teacher gifts, and the cost of instrument rentals, only to name a few.
What else is not included in any of the add-on categories?
- Senior class trips
- Prom expenses
- Cell phones
- Cars and insurance
- Hobby expenses
- Birthday parties and gifts
It is important that parents anticipate these overlooked expenses and incorporate their payment responsibility into their child support agreements. Otherwise, someone could be hurting financially when these expenses arise, and the child could suffer for it by feeling left out or forgotten.
If you need help sorting child support concerns, then Wisselman, Harounian & Associates would be happy to help you. We are here to guide, assist, and represent divorced parents in Great Neck and throughout Long Island. Call (516) 406-8500 or use an online contact form to learn more about our legal services today.