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In case of separation or divorce: who should pay for the children's summer camps?

Summer vacations are approaching and discrepancies are common in the case of separated or divorced parents about who should pay the cost of the camp or summer camp, or about whether there is an obligation to pay in the event that one of the parents does not agree to sign them up for these or other summer activities. In this post, we are focusing on explaining whether it is possible or not to oblige the other parent that does not consent to log up their children to a summer camp, for them to pay the cost of said activity.

We already anticipate the answer to the questions above indicating that, unless there is a different agreement between both parents, there is NO legal obligation to pay these costs, because it is considered an extraordinary expense that is not necessary.

Although it is true that there is no law that exhaustively lists the activities that should be considered unnecessary extraordinary expenses, the jurisprudence (that is, the resolutions that the Judges and Courts have established in similar cases), has established that the camps or ludic activities in the summer are unnecessary extraordinary expenses that, because of their voluntariness and not necessity, cannot be imposed its payment to neither of the parents.

Therefore, these activities cannot be considered as ordinary expenses, since the Judges and Courts have been establishing that ordinary expenses are all those that are foreseeable, periodic, and indispensable and it is not the case of the costs of a punctual activity during the summer (the legal definition of ordinary expense appears in article 142 of the Civil Code and in article 237-1 of the Civil Code of Catalonia).

As a result of the foregoing, extraordinary expenses must be considered all those that are not foreseeable at the time of quantifying the alimony.

Finally, and within the extraordinary expenses, it is necessary to distinguish the unnecessary expenses, the necessary ones and the urgent ones:

  • Non-necessary extraordinary expenses are those that, although they may be important for the development of the children, are not essential for them. Examples are: sports activities, voluntary excursions or summer camps to which we have focused on our post.In these cases, the consent of the other parent is essential and necessary so that the cost is shared in the proportion that has been agreed (if it is a regulatory agreement), or if it is judicial in the proportion that the judge has determined.Therefore, if there is no consent from one of the parents, the other parent will be the one who must bear the entire cost of the activity if they wish to sign up their children for said activity. If there is consent, and in order avoid latter problems in sharing the cost, we recommend to write down in a document that there has been an agreement between both parents to cover it in any proportion agreed.

  • Necessary extraordinary expenses are those that are not foreseeable, but that are necessary for the well-being of the son or daughter, but that, unlike the previous ones, are prescribed by a third party. This is the case of the need for a speech therapist, psychologist, glasses, contact lenses, etc.In these cases, when there is knowledge of the need to incur said expense, the other parent must be informed immediately of the child's need to carry out these treatments or activities, so that the other parent agrees to them. However, even if there is no consent, you can demand payment in the corresponding proportion by means of a judicial action.

  • Urgent extraordinary expenses are those in which an imminent and urgent action is needed, and there is no possibility to wait for the other parent to give us their consent to carry them out. This is the case, for example, of an emergency surgical operation. In these cases, as is logical, the parent can carry out said action without waiting for the agreement of the other, and may then pass on the cost in the proportion established by the agreement or sentence to the other parent.

In conclusion, and regarding the subject of our blog, you have to take into account that if you want to sign your son or daughter up for a summer camp, or any other recreational activity in the summer and the other parent does not agree to sign them up, you must assume the entire cost for said activity. And on the contrary, they cannot demand from you to pay the costs for an activity if you have not expressly consented and accepted to pay for it voluntarily.

Remember that this expense does not pertain within the alimony, as it is an unpredictable and punctual expense.

Do you have more questions? Are they claiming the cost of the camp? Our expert lawyers in family law can guide you or defend your interests. Request a visit to our office, or if you prefer, use our videoconference or legal consultation services via email.

We recommend the following related posts:

- Am I required to deliver my child's personal documentation to the non-custodial parent?

- Interim measures that ought to be taken a divorce procedure in Spain


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