How to Handle Extracurricular Activities in a Divorce

close up view of children playing soccer 2021 08 28 22 13 30 utc

A friend of mine was in the middle of negotiating her divorce settlement with her soon-to-be ex husband and she said he was trying to have it written in their settlement that she was responsible for paying for all of their children’s extracurricular activities.  Do these expenses fall under Child Support (food, shelter, clothing, education, medical and dental care)?  What about other things like trips, birthday parties, graduations, etc.?

What is an Extracurricular Activity?

According to Meriam-Webster “Extracurricular” is defined as: 1. not falling within the scope of a regular curriculum, specifically of or relating to officially or semiofficially approved and usually organized student activities (such as athletics) connected with school and usually carrying no academic credit. Or 2. lying outside one’s regular duties or routine. Many children are active participants in all kinds of organized groups outside of their regular school day and there are countless benefits for kids. Sports and activities help children develop social skills, leadership opportunities, peer interactions and cooperation to name a few.  Whether it’s soccer, dance, art, robotics, chess, basketball, gymnastics, etc. all of these types of activities cost money and time. In some cases a lot of time and a lot of money. Divorce is very difficult for families and it’s important to consider the well being of their children. According to the Washington State Family Law Handbook, it’s important for parents to maintain a positive relationship with each other and that they work together when making parenting decisions.  In fact, many counts in Washington State require parents to take a class on reducing conflict and how divorce affects children.  In the spirit of harmony and keeping the children’s best interests at heart, allowing them to continue with their extracurricular activities is important.

What is considered a “one-off” activity? How are they different from extracurricular activities?

A “one-off activity is defined as: 1. something that happens only a single time. 2. An example of a one-off is an experiment that works out once. noun. 3. Happening, done, or made only once. According to There are a number of one-off events in the life of a child, everything from birthday or graduation parties, trips, a car, prom dress, etc.  While some parents may decide to have separate parties where each pays for his/her own event, while other parents want to have joint soirées. Owning property jointly with rights of survivorship can also help to avoid probate. For example, if you and your spouse here in Tacoma jointly own a property in Northern California, if you die, that property would go to them.