What is included in extra ordinary expenses?


Kids have been playing violin for years. Both of them go to magnet schools which is 20 miles from we live, so I drive them in the morning. The bus comes at 5:40 (yap, they are in the MS) while the school does not open until 7:30. They also have been taking tennis lessons. Can I include all these expenses (violin and tennis lessons, and gas expense) in the extra ordinary expenses? My wife and I are getting divorced and working on CS.

Please help!


It’s difficult to decide what extraordinary expenses are! The Court has no real definition and it’s hard for the lawyers to specify these things as well! For the most part, extraordinary expenses might include private school tuition and special medical care costs, but things like violin lessons might possibly be considered just regular expenses the parents choose to make for the children! The bottom line…there is NO clear cut answer on what constitutes extraordinary expense. If you can afford it and want to do anything for your child, then it’s just an expense associated with raising a child! Don’t confuse extraordinary with extracurricular. Two separate issues!


Are you going to be the one paying child support? I wonder why you would want them included? You should be very careful what “above and beyond” you put in your agreement. Personally I feel those are extra curriculars. That’s not saying you couldn’t still pay for them if you wanted too. I think it’s just easier and less complicated to stick to the guidelines.


My experience with extraordinary expenses was this…

When the ex and I made an agreement between our selves on child support, we could decide what went into extraordinary expenses to be calculated for child support (as there seems to be no set legal definition).

However, when we have not been in agreement on child support and had a trial before a judge then extraordinary expenses has been left up to the discretion of the judge. My judge would not include any kind of lessons as extraordinary. My judge stated that she defined extraordinary expenses as expenses for a medical condition or expenses related to the need for private schooling.

So the just of this is if the two are coming to a friendly agreement on child support and you can both agree then the extraordinary expenses you mention can very well be included because the two of you are deciding.

However, if the court gets involved it is left to the judges discretion.


I believe though that if they decide and it’s put into their separation agreement then he will obligate himself to continue to pay those expenses or be in breach of contract. All variables that need to be thought thru before committing anything on paper.


I agree with 4them. Think very carefully before committing anything to a separation agreement. The one certain thing in life is change. If it is an expense that you won’t be able to pay if unemployed for a length of time or if you get disabled, don’t put it in the agreement. Things will not be the same tomorrow as they are today, and it can change quickly and without warning.

Separation agreement in our case was signed 3 months ago, and already problems have started cropping up because of a change in the ex’s employment status. Because of the agreement, now BOTH parties will have to pay more out per month than they can possibly pay due to a simple clause in the agreement that seemed perfectly reasonable at the time.

Personally, I’d say to leave discretionary expenses (like college, athletic expenses, etc) out of a separation agreement if at all possible (unless the money can be set aside up front). It’s more trouble and causes more bad will than negotiating whenever needed. Just my experience.


Extraordinary expenses are not often considered by the courts, unless they are related to special or prviate schools required for the child’s particular educational needs, or they are expenses related to transportation of the child between homes, which typically this means airline tickets or vast distances.