Does child support include all expenses regarding summer camps?
Typically, in Florida, summer camp is not included in the child support calculation, unless it is something that is required in lieu of other child care expenses. Child care costs are supposed to be included in child support calculations, although sometimes they are not, either intentionally or unintentionally.
If child care costs are included in child support and if you normally pay $125 per week for child care, and you have a summer camp that is going to cost about the same, then the child care cost would not be incurred while the child was in summer camp and there would be no change in child support or any additional monies exchanged. You would simply be paying the summer camp costs instead of the normal child care costs that are already calculated into the monthly child support amount.
However, if you normally have no child care costs, then summer camp would be considered an extracurricular activity. Typically, agreed upon extracurricular activities are shared 50/50 (depending on the parties relative incomes). However, unless the parties agree to this or unless a court has ordered this, then there is no legal requirement to contribute additional monies for the summer camp in addition to the already established child support amount.
My office offers free consultations if you would like to discuss this matter further.
If summer camp is child care, then the expense is a mandatory add-on in most states, with the cost split between the parents in proportion to their incomes. The reasoning is that the child care expense is an income-producing expense of the parent. Presumably, if the family remained intact, the parents would treat child care as a necessary cost of the family attributable to the children when both parents work. Therefore, the expense is one that is incurred for the benefit of the child which the parents should share. If the expense is not “child care,” but rather a discretionary expense, the cost may or may not have to be shared by the non-custodial parent, in the court’s discretion.
The primary factor the courts examine is whether the summer camp is essentially taking the place of necessary child care, i.e., is the custodial parent working or going to school. The courts also examine the necessity of child care. Thus, if a “child” is old enough to go without child care, the cost of summer camp is not considered child care. Of course, even if summer camp is not a “child care” expense, the cost can still be ordered by the court as a necessary for the "best interest of the child".
As always it is best to consult with an attorney in your area for specific state law on the issue.