Which Co-Parent Should Pay for a Child’s Back-To-School Costs?

Posted by Joseph Lento | Oct 13, 2023 | 0 Comments

Every year, the parents of school-age children and teens are sent a list of school supplies that their students need to bring to class when summer ends and the academic year gets underway. When parents shop for school supplies, they also generally take stock of their child's wardrobe so that they can fill any gaps that may have been created as a result of growth spurts, accidental loss, and wear and tear. The costs of outfitting a child for school – both literally and figuratively – can significantly impact a parent's budget. Therefore, it isn't unreasonable for a parent who shares custody with their ex and/or receives child support payments from them to wonder who is legally responsible for assuming these financial burdens.

If you have questions or concerns about your shared parenting arrangements, don't hesitate to discuss your situation with our firm's Family Law Team by calling 888-535-3686 or by contacting the LLF Law Firm online today. Oftentimes, seeking legal guidance can provide clarity that empowers parents to make truly informed decisions about their parental rights and obligations.

Parenting Plan Considerations

Oftentimes, when a child's parents divorce or otherwise go their separate ways, they outline who is responsible for certain financial burdens within the context of their parenting plan. If you have a parenting plan that has been approved by the courts, it is a legally enforceable document. As a result, whatever your plan says about which parent is responsible for back-to-school expenses must be honored if/until that plan is modified.

Child Support Considerations

If you have yet to finalize a parenting plan or your plan doesn't address this issue, you'll need to consider your child support arrangements when analyzing each parent's financial responsibilities. When there is no specific provision in a child support order or parenting plan that addresses a particular expense, it is generally assumed that child support obligations have been calculated with that expense in mind. This means the courts generally take necessities like school supplies and clothing into consideration when ordering one parent to pay a specific amount of support. With that said, if a child's support arrangements don't adequately account for necessary expenses, it may be possible to seek a modification of a standing order from the courts to address that concern.

Legal Assistance Is Available

If you have questions about either your child support obligations or your co-parent's, don't hesitate to reach out to the knowledgeable Family Law Team at the LLF Law Firm today. Similarly, if you believe that a modification to your family's parenting plan would be in your child's best interests, our team can assist you whether you anticipate that your co-parent will agree to an adjustment or that you'll need to litigate your concerns.

When it comes to your child's well-being, informed approaches to co-parenting concerns can help you navigate your family's circumstances as successfully as possible. Connect with our firm's client-focused Family Law Team to learn more today by calling 888-535-3686 or by contacting the firm online. We look forward to assisting you.

About the Author

Joseph Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento is a veteran of one of the nation's busiest family courts with nearly 20 years' experience passionately helping families. By day, he worked in the trenches of family court, and at night, he studied the law. He helped countless families while working at family court, and he went on to become an attorney, dedicating his law practice to continuing the work he started years earlier. Mr. Lento's experience both behind the scenes and on the front lines allows him to understand a client's family law matter from all angles, and allows him to find and employ the most effective strategies to get favorable outcomes for any client. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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The LLF Law Firm has unparalleled experience practicing Family Law in Pennsylvania. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you and your family, contact our offices today. Our Family Law Team will go above and beyond the needs for any client and fight for what is fair.

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