Legal Matters: Navigating Summer Camp Plans with Your Co-Parent

co-parenting for summer camp
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By Inna Materese

Spring has officially sprung, which means the school year is winding down. Thoughts of the hot summer months — and summer camp — have probably crept into view, along with questions about payment arrangements for co-parents. 

Support orders typically provide for basic child support based on statewide guidelines, as well as the division of unreimbursed medical expenses.

However, when it comes to activities, such as summer camp, parents typically must agree upon the expense before it can be reimbursed through domestic relations and their support orders. The court can also allocate additional support expenses and include them as part of your support order if agreed upon. Examples of those other expenses are:

  • Childcare costs
  • Health insurance premiums
  • Unreimbursed medical expenses
  • Summer camp expenses
  • Private school expenses
  • After-school activities 

With any of these expenses, remember to provide your attorney with written documentation of the actual costs and proof of payment. The court wants to see documentation of the actual costs before they will order your co-parent to contribute. This will also help to show that the proposed expenditure is reasonable given you and your co-parent’s incomes.

Summer Camp Expenses

The court will allocate summer camp expenses if there is a need for the expense, and the expense is reasonable given the circumstances, both financial and otherwise. Generally, the cost division will be proportional to the parties’ respective incomes. 

More often than not, it is preferable for the parties to pay their respective shares of the summer camp expense directly to the provider. However, suppose there are concerns about timely payment or the ability of one parent to pay the cost in real-time. In that case, parents can creatively resolve the issue by agreeing that one will advance the expense and the other reimburse after. The party incurring the expense must provide documentation of the actual expense and request reimbursement from the other parent. 

What if you and your co-parent disagree about summer camp? 

In the best-case scenario, parents agree on both the selected summer camp and the expense sharing. However, parents do disagree with respect to summer arrangements. For example, consider a family where one parent resides approximately an hour from the other. Or parents who alter their summer custodial arrangement from their school time custodial arrangement. Under various factual circumstances, each parent may want to choose their own summer care arrangements without being required to contribute to the plans made by their co-parent.

The selection of summer camp and financial obligations towards the same, when a disagreement regarding camp arises, is both a legal custody and a child support issue. If you and your co-parent disagree on which camp to send your children to for reasons other than the cost, then you will have to resolve this dispute in custody court. 

The determination regarding summer camp and the expense is based on the individual facts in each family’s circumstances. The most important thing for parents in a co-parenting house is to think about their summer childcare arrangements early. Speak with your attorney now if you believe you and your co-parent may disagree about the arrangements necessary to ensure that the issue is resolved before the end of the school year.

If you have co-parenting or family law questions, please reach out to a member of our family law team or contact the office directly at 215.362.2474.

Inna DBD

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Inna G. Materese concentrates her practice in all areas of family law, including but not limited to, high-asset divorce, complex custody issues, protection from abuse, and support matters.

Inna has successfully represented clients in the negotiation, litigation, and resolution of their family law matters in Montgomery, Bucks, Chester, and Philadelphia Counties. 

Inna focuses on helping her clients achieve their individual goals through a collaborative, resourceful, pragmatic, and compassionate approach. 

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