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Divorce & Family Law This forum is for discussing any of the legal issues involved in your divorce.

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  #1  
Old 01-13-2014, 08:41 PM
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Default What is considered "extraordinary" when it comes to extracurricular activities?

Hello all,

I was wondering if anyone can clarify what is considered "extraordinary" when it comes to extracurricular activities.

Specifically, the mother signed the child up for an expensive activity without consulting the father. The father only found out about it because the activity falls during his access time, cutting his time with the child in half. The father has voiced his disapproval of the activity, as it is too expensive (already cost the mother over $1,000 as she claims) and it fully interferes with his access. The mother demands that the father pay his share of the expense (60%) because she considers it "extraordinary" as the costs for the activity are extremely high. The father has clearly stated that he does not agree with the activity as he doesn't have the means to pay extra on top of what he already pays in child support (which is meant to cover reasonable extracurricular activities) and child care expenses. More importantly, the father was not consulted prior to enrollment. (The mother said that this was because she "knew" he was going to disapprove.)

We are now at an impasse over what is considered "extraordinary." The mother claims this particular expense is extraordinary because she is having a difficult time covering the costs associated with it. The father claims that this particular expense is not extraordinary because it is neither a rep level league (like competitive hockey with tournaments and travel costs) nor a costly activity (like horseback riding which might include boarding a horse). The child is on a house league team, and it is his first time trying this activity.

Can anyone clarify or provide a link to a site that might help us put and end to this issue?

Secondly, a question about child care expenses.

The child receives daily child care through a registered provider. This cost is shared proportionately by the parents. The mother also has her grandmother take care of the child 2 nights a week for 2-3 hours. The mother claims she pays her grandmother $250/month for this childcare and demands that the father pay the proportionate share for this babysitting to the grandmother. Is the father in any way obligated to pay for the mother's babysitter costs? Even though the child is old enough to stay home by himself for 2-3 hours but the mother chooses to enlist her grandmother to babysit? Similarly, the father works on Saturdays and the child is left in the care of his wife (child's stepmother). Should the mother be responsible for compensating the father for this child care that is required due to his work hours?

Just wondering what the "rules" are around babysitting expenses (as in child care outside of regular daycare hours) - if they fall under child support child care guidelines.

Thank you in advance for your help!
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  #2  
Old 01-13-2014, 09:24 PM
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arabian arabian is offline
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School then daycare, babysitters and weekend work. When do the parents spend time with the young man?

Here is a 2013 case from Ontario which spells out "extraordinary expenses":

De Sousa. v. Colizza, 2013 ONSC 4613 (CanLII)

Last edited by arabian; 01-13-2014 at 09:26 PM.
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Old 01-13-2014, 09:39 PM
Berner_Faith Berner_Faith is offline
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Extraordinary expenses really depend on the income of the parents.

Babysitting is only a section 7 expense if it is used for the parents to go to work. Also, I am not certain if it is the same for Family Law as it is for CRA, however parents and grandparents are not eligible for babysitters when it comes to payment.
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Old 01-13-2014, 09:42 PM
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Just to expand on what Arabian provided....from the case in question

Section 7(1.1) of the Guidelines reads as follows: (1.1) For the purposes of clauses (1) (d) and (f),

“extraordinary expenses” means
(a) expenses that exceed those that the parent or spouse requesting an amount for the extraordinary expenses can reasonably cover, taking into account that parent’s or spouse’s income and the amount that the parent or spouse would receive under the applicable table or, where the court has determined that the table amount is inappropriate, the amount that the court has otherwise determined is appropriate, or

(b) where clause (a) is not applicable, expenses that the court considers are extraordinary taking into account,

(i) the amount of the expense in relation to the income of the parent or spouse requesting the amount, including the amount that the parent or spouse would receive under the applicable table or, where the court has determined that the table amount is inappropriate, the amount that the court has otherwise determined is appropriate,

(ii) the nature and number of the educational programs and extracurricular activities,

(iii) any special needs and talents of the child,

(iv) the overall cost of the programs and activities, and

(v) any other similar factors that the court considers relevant.

Clicky
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Old 01-13-2014, 09:56 PM
DunnMom DunnMom is offline
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ONLY going by "my" experience.

Most SA's state something along the lines of "the parties will agree, in writing, to any extracurricular activity ... Neither party with unreasonably withhold consent..."

AND THERE IS WHERE THE ISSUE LIES .. in my case, kids were in H/L hockey PRIOR to our separation. Cost about $500/yr per kid (registration & replacing outgrown equipment) ... the year after we separated I rec'd an email like I did the past 3-4 yrs that registration for the upcoming year would be opening in 3 wks ... so I forwarded the email to ex. Nothing .. no response. 3 days before registration, I sent a follow up email. Again, no response so I went ahead and registered on opening day.

Ex refused to pay his share. Didn't agree with hockey any more, paid enough in CS and couldn't afford it.

Same thing with our oldest son's Gr. 8 school trip to Ottawa. Rec'd paperwork which listed a "parents night" that would explain the costs, what was involved with the trip etc ... forwarded to ex and nothing. I didn't go to info seminar either because had already BTDT with my oldest. 3 wks past and paperwork/permission forms/deposit request came home. Send to ex and nothing .... no response. So went ahead and paid deposit and subsequently whole cost of trip ($465.00). When I sent ex cashed cheques, etc and asked for payment of his share, he replied with the "I didn't agree to this and therefore I don't have to pay" bullshit.

Same thing with braces ... kids' had been seeing a orthodontist for "monitoring" for 4 & 6 yrs respectively ... time came when dentist & orthodontist said "we need to start treatment" ... ex pulled the "nope, I don't agree & can't pay" & refused to sign paperwork to start treatment.

That was the final straw. We both self-repped and went to trial which lasted 1-day ... he was ordered to pay for all of the above ... retroactively.

IMO .. a could WILL order payment for a "reasonable" amount of extra-curricular activities ... (ie. $200 baseball or soccer for summer & $400 hockey in winter)

The issue is that stupid clause in most SA's that says "neither party with unreasonably withhold consent" ... leaves WAY too much open to interpretation ... what may be reasonable to ME might not be to YOU.
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Old 01-13-2014, 10:11 PM
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My husband finished court a few months ago, I had my case conference on my case today. If there's one thing I've learned from both of these experiences is S7 is highly individualized.

My hubby had the same issue you have on the high cost sport interfering with access time. Ex wanted to S7 the expense, along with all the travel costs. She didn't have his consent to enroll him, so it was thrown out as a valid S7 expense. He told her ahead of registration that he wasn't supportive of it, but she enrolled anyway.

My experience - I have no consent for S7 expense - mainly because the ex is very uncooperative and non responsive. I can't even get consent for medical expenses - which don't require consent. Judge confirmed that one today. But, when the ex's lawyer piped up about not agreeing to the extra curricular S7 expense the judge was quick to advise him that it wasn't necessarily up to him.

So, there you have it. Two different experiences.
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Old 01-13-2014, 10:28 PM
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Thanks for the replies. Again, the law is blurred beyond recognition! What else is new?!

The issue is that the child never expressed interest in the sport until one day he supposedly agreed to try it because the mother's family was pushing it on him. The mother registered him without the father's consent because she knew the father would disagree as it falls during his access time. (Practice Saturdays, Games Sundays - Father only has access every-other-weekend plus holidays.)

Father already pays full costs associated with day camps and activities that occur during his access time during summer and winter holidays. Father has also paid his share of certain activities on which he was consulted and to which he agreed in the past, such as soccer registration. However, he was neither consulted nor agreed to hockey registration which came as a complete surprise when he was forwarded the bill for house league registration, equipment, dentist moulded mouth guard, additional hockey skills and power skating lessons because the child had never played the sport before and was way behind his teammates, etc.

And I understand that some people use the excuse "I disagree so I don't have to pay" to get out of sharing the expense, but somewhere a line must be drawn. And a definition of "reasonable" should be clear enough to help draw that line.

In any case, perhaps I'm mistaken, but I feel that the father has a string case to not have to pay for an activity that he wasn't consulted on, didn't agree too, and that interferes with his access, especially if this is a brand new activity that the mother signed the child up for on a whim. But then again, given our family court experiences, things that seem fair don't always end up in the court order.

As for the babysitting... the mother claims she needs the grandmother to babysit because she has to work late those 2 nights. But again, the question becomes whether family members are considered valid child care providers. What about the father who works Saturdays and needs to ensure child care? Why can't the two just cancel each other out?

Sometimes these laws give me the biggest headache!

Thanks for the replies!
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Old 01-13-2014, 10:31 PM
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I came across this site in my googling... it seems to have some good answers to these questions.

Section 7 Expenses - CanadianDivorceLaws.com
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Old 01-13-2014, 10:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maggie82 View Post
Thanks for the replies. Again, the law is blurred beyond recognition! What else is new?!

The issue is that the child never expressed interest in the sport until one day he supposedly agreed to try it because the mother's family was pushing it on him. The mother registered him without the father's consent because she knew the father would disagree as it falls during his access time. (Practice Saturdays, Games Sundays - Father only has access every-other-weekend plus holidays.)

Father already pays full costs associated with day camps and activities that occur during his access time during summer and winter holidays. Father has also paid his share of certain activities on which he was consulted and to which he agreed in the past, such as soccer registration. However, he was neither consulted nor agreed to hockey registration which came as a complete surprise when he was forwarded the bill for house league registration, equipment, dentist moulded mouth guard, additional hockey skills and power skating lessons because the child had never played the sport before and was way behind his teammates, etc.

And I understand that some people use the excuse "I disagree so I don't have to pay" to get out of sharing the expense, but somewhere a line must be drawn. And a definition of "reasonable" should be clear enough to help draw that line.

In any case, perhaps I'm mistaken, but I feel that the father has a string case to not have to pay for an activity that he wasn't consulted on, didn't agree too, and that interferes with his access, especially if this is a brand new activity that the mother signed the child up for on a whim. But then again, given our family court experiences, things that seem fair don't always end up in the court order.

As for the babysitting... the mother claims she needs the grandmother to babysit because she has to work late those 2 nights. But again, the question becomes whether family members are considered valid child care providers. What about the father who works Saturdays and needs to ensure child care? Why can't the two just cancel each other out?

Sometimes these laws give me the biggest headache!

Thanks for the replies!
I think in my case the judge was focusing on whether this sport was beneficial to my daughter. And, in light of all the other circumstances, it is highly beneficial to her.

With my husband's case - he said he was more than willing to pay his share of house league sports, but refused to commit to the travel expenses and high cost of rep league. He's on two rep league teams - two different sports - and plays high school in a total of three different sports. Dad thinks he's over programmed, and two rep sports is just not necessary. He pays his share of everything else.

So, it's down to the kids again. What's best for them.

As for the babysitting - I've never been able to get my dad compensated by my ex for any of the babysitting he does. Even when the ex would show up unscheduled at 7am to drop off our daughter, he wouldn't acknowledge that there was a cost involved in the babysitting that I absorbed. Not significant cost at all - as my dad will only take a small amount for the expenses of driving, etc, etc.
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Old 01-13-2014, 10:45 PM
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Thanks for sharing your experience MS Mom! That's helpful to know. It is indeed different for each case. Funny how the law works that way!

Did I mention that the father lives a 1.5 hour drive (one way) from where the child resides and participates in the activity? And we make the drive at least 3 times every weekend we have him so show that we support him. Even if it means increased travel costs and forfeiting 6-8 hours of access time because there's no point bringing him back home with us only to drive him back an hour later. (Father does all the transportation.)

Yet that's not good enough. The mother, as usual, has to nickel and dime us any chance she gets. (At our last court appearance in 2010, the judge actually scolded her for this. So I'm hoping that last experience deters get from taking this to court.)
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