We may not have paid much attention when Target and Wal-Mart quickly shifted their offerings from summer fun items such as swim suits, barbeque grills and fireworks on July 5th to book bags, backpacks and school supplies. But now that we are in the middle of August, a new school year is just around the corner, which means divorced parents with children may embark on an annual dispute: who is going to pay for school clothes and supplies?
Further complicating this argument are additional fees for sports leagues, costs for extra-curricular activities and schedule changes for those who are going to new schools. This may prompt frustrated parents to seek legal action so that they may compel a non-custodial parent to contribute more in order to share these additional costs.
Unfortunately, a support modification motion may not achieve such a result. Modifications are generally implemented to deal with a substantial change in circumstances. For example, if a parent loses their job or suffers an injury or illness that prevents them from meeting their support obligation, a court may make a temporary adjustment.
As such, changes in school costs, or the choice to send a child to private school (when they previously did not attend one) may not qualify as such a substantial change.
So what is a parent who needs help supposed to do? There may be several options available for parents who are willing to work together, and an experienced family law attorney can help. If they are completely opposed to sharing costs, a courtroom may not be the best option.
The preceding is not legal advice.