Extra Curricular Activities
An old client of mine inspired me to add a page of great importance, but possibly not discussed at great lengths in the context of a custody dispute. This is the area of extra curricular activities. I realize not only from the personal observations from the perspective of when I was a child growing up, but as an adult in watching children mature into their teenage years that extracurricular curricular activities are important for a child at any age.
Extra curricular activities promotes camaraderie and leadership among their age group peers. It permits a child to explore interests in sports or the arts such as dance and theater.
In the high school years, it can add to the child's resume if the child wants to go to college. Depending on interests, it may lead to an academic or sports scholarship in college.
It also keeps children from being astray from idle time and falling into behaviors that are not good for them developmentally.
Most importantly, it can aid with a child's self esteem. A child with a poor self esteem can lead to psychological issues that can affect that child into adulthood.
Why Discuss This?
As I had stated, a client contacted me on one occasion concerning a dispute over an extra curricular activity. This can actually lead to a modification petition in a custody action. Sometimes, parents have a dispute as to which parent must bear the financial commitment to the activity. There may be also be a requirement for the parent to participate in fundraising to assist the organization. Other problems arise when a parent feels that they are being "short changed" with their time with the child if the activity occurs when a parent is only to have weekend visits with the child.There may be an increased burden for travel and time. Multiple children with varied interests may mean multiple activities with increased juggling of time and added stress.
Courts are generally going to require parents to accommodate a child's interest in extra curricular activities for the reasons previously mentioned. If you are having a problem with the opposing parent or feel that the child is being signed up for multiple activities that are unwanted or burdensome to the child, please contact my office to discuss what options you have for filing a modification to your current custody order if there is no agreement between the parties.