Many parents in Phoenix would acknowledge that extracurricular activities, like sports, music and the like, are good for their children. They are indeed often a critical part of a child's education, as they give the kids the necessary skills and knowledge to become accomplished and happy adults.
However, extracurricular activities are not automatically included as part of parents' child support obligations. Instead, the Arizona Guidelines allow judges to decide on a case-by-case basis whether and to what extent to add the costs of extracurricular expenses to either parent's child support payment.
Generally speaking, a parent will have to convince a court that the extracurricular activity is an important, even necessary, component of a child's education as opposed to just a hobby or a fun outing. Often, the court will expect that both parents agree the activity is important enough to the child's development to pay a little extra for it. However, the court may choose to order a child to participate in such activities at either parent's request.
Another important point Arizona parents should remember is that, once their child turns 12, a court can raise the amount of child support otherwise called for under the Arizona Guidelines by up to 10%. This is because older children cost about 10% extra to provide for when compared with their younger counterparts.
Extracurricular expenses can be a sticking point when it comes to figuring out child support because one parent may think the expenses are necessary, while the other views them as extraneous or even excessive. This is why one needs to understand their rights.