As a divorced parent, you are expected to contribute to your child’s basic needs – food, clothing, housing and healthcare. But who pays for summer camp, piano lessons, or private school tuition? These extra expenses are not figured into Pennsylvania’s basic child support formula. The new Pennsylvania child support guidelines aim to provide some guidance on these issues.

Extra expenses are commonplace. Consider what happens when a child moves from a local ice hockey squad to a travel team? Perhaps a child starts an expensive new activity, such as gymnastics or singing lessons, or special training for the activity. Even private school attendance can be an issue. One parent may support the activity while the other considers it excessive.

Circumstances like these affect all support cases, not just higher income divorces. The new support guidelines will now include these extra expenses if the court sees a benefit to the child. The court will consider the following:

  • Is it a reasonable expense, given the parents’ circumstances?
  • Is it related to the child’s education or development?
  • Is there a history of participating in these activities?

If the answer is ‘yes’ to any of these, the activities may be authorized, and the expense divided equitably between the parents. Payments could even be ordered retroactively under the new support guidelines.

It can be a very contentious issue when one parent supports an interest or endeavor, and the other does not. Your best strategy is to consult with an experienced child support attorney who understands the complex methodology of how to present the activities and costs to the court for an equitable solution.

Williams Family Law is the largest divorce law firm in Bucks County. If you need the help of a top divorce attorney, contact us at 215-340-2207 or email