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Bay Area Family Attorneys > Blog > Child Custody Visitation > Handling Extracurricular Activities in California Parenting Plans

Handling Extracurricular Activities in California Parenting Plans


Extracurricular activities can be vital to a child’s development, and often the groups or activities children are involved in, and the relationships fostered therein, will impact them their whole lives. However, a divorce can have an impact on the ease of getting your kids through those extracurricular activities. Ex-spouses might disagree or simply not know how to handle decisions on a number of items: what kinds of activities should the kids be involved with? Which teacher should they go to? Will practices take away too much time that is supposed to be spent with the non-custodial parent? Who shoulders the costs of these extracurriculars?

By understanding the potential points of contention in advance, you are in a far better position to lay out your plans for how to address anything that may arise. This is why addressing extracurricular activities in a parenting plan can be so valuable.

Common Issues with Extracurricular Activities

Extracurricular activities can be a significant investment of both time and money. Remember that these activities could include daily or weekly practices, weekend recitals, travel tournaments, uniforms, costumes, sport or music equipment – the time and money commitments are legitimate, and should be considered.

Some difficulties parents often encounter include:

  • Disagreement on Child’s Activities: One parent might want their child to play hockey. The other parent might shudder at the thought of contact sports. In cases of joint legal custody both parents are responsible for making decisions concerning extracurricular activities. Conversations early on about what each parent expects can go a long way in at least fostering understanding and setting expectations moving forward.
  • Expenses: Who is on the hook for paying for all of the travel, uniforms, equipment, team/organizational fees? Setting up a realistic plan for these expenses in a parenting plan can go a long way in avoiding miscommunication and resentment from unmet expectations.
  • Time: The dates and times of your child’s recitals, practices, and games could cause tension. Are all of the practices scheduled for times the child is supposed to be with the non-custodial parent? Another potential issue – where are these activities taking place? Will lessons be taken from a location that is convenient to both parties? Will one party be majorly inconvenienced based on the location of the games/practices?

At the end of the day, each co-parent walking away with a clear understanding of what to expect moving forward is key to long-term success. Communication is critical, and flexibility is key.

The Value of Flexibility

When considering anything to do with children, remember that their best interest is key. No matter how flawless the parenting plan and custody sharing schedule is: it is a reality of life that things will change. Some plans will go awry. Some tournaments will be rescheduled. A practice will fall on someone’s birthday. One parent will need to switch weekends with the other. Building a level of flexibility into your parenting plans to deal with these kinds of issues is key to the plan’s success.

Contact Cardwell Steigerwald Young

If you are starting down the path of a divorce and/or custody case, a child custody attorney can help you anticipate issues that you otherwise would not recognize until they are suddenly knocking at your door. The experienced San Francisco child custody lawyers at Cardwell Steigerwald Young can help you develop a clear parenting plan that includes details on important items such as handling extracurricular activities. Contact our office today to begin speaking with our team.



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