Extracurricular activities ranging from athletics and theater to debate and student government can be an important part of a child’s educational experience. Their extracurricular activities may help them develop friendships or play a role in developing their overall personality. Extracurricular activities can also help college-bound students stand out from their peers when seeking enrollment at competitive schools or applying for financial aid.
Children’s extracurricular activities can become a source of conflict and complications when parents divorce. The following are some of the ways that a child’s preferred activities can affect divorce proceedings or custody matters.
Activities diminish available parenting time
Both parents in a family usually want to maximize how much time they get to spend with their children after a divorce. Custody orders may allow for a certain number of overnight visits and sometimes also afternoon and evening hours spent with one parent during the school year.
Both evenings and weekends could be sources of conflict when children begin participating in sports and other extracurricular activities. They may need to dedicate certain weeknights toward practices, while weekends may see them traveling for games or devoting entire days toward scheduled performances. As a result, parents may need to integrate rules into their custody arrangements that allow them to schedule make-up parenting time when extra-curricular activities cut into their time with the children.
Parents forced to interact may fight
The actual activities themselves can be a source of conflict if the parents attend them at the same time. Whether there is a debate competition or a volleyball tournament, the parents may need to have rules about who can attend and how they should behave during those special events. Otherwise, they may end up fighting about attendance or getting into a disagreement when they both arrive to support the child.
Costs can also be an issue
Although parents typically need to share financial responsibility for their children, child support orders often fall far short of the true costs of raising a child. Parents may need to address additional expenses, such as the cost of extracurricular activities. Often, parents can agree to share those expenses so they don’t argue about them later.
Proactively addressing matters that can lead to conflict later, like extracurricular activities, can result in a more peaceful co-parenting arrangement. Seeking legal guidance is a good way to get started.