It’s not uncommon after a divorce to be living within different means. The standard of living to which you had become accustom may not exist anymore, and belts may need to be tightened.

Early on in the new school year is budget time – school and extra curricular activities for your child/ren will need to be discussed with your ex.

In addition to child support payments from one parent to the other, Section 7 Special and Extraordinary Expenses must also be considered. These expenses are over and above the minimum table amounts required according to the Child Support Guidelines. Should the child/ren have additional expenses that are extraordinary or special, both parents will be obligated to contribute to such expenses in proportion to their respective incomes.  That is where school and extracurricular activities come into the conversation.

The discussion with your ex may go quite differently depending on the type of school your child/ren may be attending.  If it’s a private school, tuition alone would be a major expense. Add to this the cost of school uniforms, supplies and trips, and the price goes up considerably.  Even if your child/ren are attending a public school, there may still be before and after care expenses, field trips, pizza lunches and the like.

And we haven’t even touched upon extracurricular programs.

Although not exhaustive, below is a list of things you may wish to consider when budgeting for extracurricular activities that may help the discussion go a lot smoother:

♦ As a starting point, and as difficult as it may be, you might just have to say no to particularly expensive activities;

♦ If they have been enrolled in sports or classes before, discuss each of them with your child/ren. They may not be as committed to them as you think they are. Besides, involving them in these decisions may be quite helpful;

♦ Investigate whether any desired activities are offered at their school. Lunchtime and after-school activities may be wonderful substitutes;

♦ Register for programs earlier to save with early bird rates;

♦ If you have more than one child interested in a particular activity, find out if you are eligible for some sort of family discount; and finally

♦ Try to save on the cost of equipment – your kids are growing and it seems like each year they need new equipment. Does it really have to be brand new? Siblings, friends and/or second hand sporting goods stores may have just what you’re looking for