Monday, April 16, 2012

Extra-Curricular Activities Must Be Budgeted for in Child Support

Davis v. Davis, 2011 UT App 311, Utah Court of Appeals September 9, 2011

Husband and wife divorced in 2002.  The Decree was modified in 2005 because of Husband’s loss of employment and bankruptcy.  In 2008, Wife filed a Petition to Modify because Father’s failure to pay credit card costs had resulted in the creditors seeking payment from her thus lowering her credit score and making it more difficult for Wife to obtain additional credit.  Wife sought to have the child tax benefits awarded to her because of Father’s failure to pay the credit card debt.  She further sought an order requiring Father to pay half of the children’s extracurricular costs, and that the Court modify child support commensurate with the parties’ incomes.  The court granted wife’s Petition.  Father appealed.

The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court on the issue of the past due debt because it should have been dealt with in the 2005 modification.  The Court further reversed on the issue of extracurricular expenses and found that they are not the type of expenses that are required to be equally divided but must be budgeted for with child support or separate agreements to share those costs can be made.

As to child support the Court affirmed the lower court because the issue was not properly preserved by Father.

1 comment:

Scott Wiser said...

One unanswered question that remains is how this case applies to joint physical custody arrangements which statute defines as, among other things, having "both parents contribute to the expenses of the child in addition to paying child support." On the one hand, I could read this as stating no more than that each parent pays for their child's routine expense during their respective parent-time sessions. On the other hand, you could argue that, notwithstanding Davis, it requires parents to "contribute" towards other expenses (e.g. extracurriculars) in addition to child support in return for the privilege of having joint custody.


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