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Are summer camps included in child support orders?

Sending kids to camp during the summer may have been the norm for a married couple, who shared expenses and made the decision together, but post divorce this may change if not specifically address in the child support order or by law.

As mentioned previously the financial obligation to support one's children exists whether or not the parents remain married. Basic child support in New York is calculated according to the Child Support Standards Act but there are certain add-ons permitted by state law. Child care falls under these add-ons.

As per the law, child care service expenses can be included in child support if the custodial parent is in school; receiving education or vocational training, or is employed or in pursuit of employment, and incurs child care expenses as a result, they can be a part of the child support calculations. The court will in this case decide the reasonable amount of expenses and prorated in the same proportion as the parent's income is to combined parental income. Basically, this includes the cost of nannies or babysitters and daycare services. The question that arises then is that does summer camp count as a daycare service?

The answer to this is not clear-cut. It depends on the nature of the camp. Though it seems like an extra-curricular expense, in reality it also serves as a replacement for the service taking care of the child while the custodial parent is working or studying. If the children are young and it indeed does substitute as a daycare, a court may count it as so, but it may be less likely if the camp is sleep-away.

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Non-custodial parents can ask for justifications of the expenses and custodial parents should be prepared to provide them in a matter of fact manner, without letting emotions get the best of them. It might be beneficial to consult an experienced attorney to determine where summer camps fall in terms of child support.

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