Summer Break and Childcare Is Not All Fun in the Sun for Working Parents

As the school year comes to a close and summer vacation begins, many parents are preparing for summer activities and camps for their children. For divorced parents, in addition to negotiating the summer schedule, the question of how to pay for these summer camps expenses can often lead to conflict and confusion. How divorced and separated parents handle the costs of summer activities largely depends on how these activities are perceived under the law.

The New Jersey Child Support Guidelines cover essential expenses but do not account for all extracurricular activities or summer camps. For custodial parents who work full-time, relying on summer camps and programs for childcare during the summer months is common practice. When work related, summer camps are viewed as essential under the law, and are therefore typically shared proportionately by both parents. However, if the summer activities are not clearly outlined in the parenting plan or marital settlement agreement, determining who is responsible for covering these costs can become a source of contention. 

Calculating child support for summer activities involves assessing tuition costs for specific camps and programs for the current year. In some cases, parents may agree on a reasonable dollar amount to cover camps and activities, which is then factored into the final child support award.

When it comes to older children who can self-supervise, summer activities such as sports, camps, and music lessons are considered entertainment-related costs. These activities are generally not mandated under the law, meaning that the non-custodial parent may not be required to contribute financially towards these expenses.

In conclusion, effective communication and clear agreements regarding summer childcare expenses are crucial for divorced parents to avoid conflicts and ensure the well-being of their children during the summer break. By establishing solid arrangements and understanding the legal implications surrounding summer activities, divorced parents can navigate this challenging aspect of co-parenting more smoothly. Contact our family law team at Cohn Lifland Pearlman Herrmann & Knopf to discuss your childcare needs for the summer months and how we can ensure a fair financial resolution of your summer childcare needs.