It’s no secret that a new school year is nearly upon us. If you haven’t noticed by all the new offerings in Target, Kohl’s or Walmart, the back to school commercials have likely given you a clue. Because of this, newly divorced and separated parents may have disputes over who will be responsible for covering back to school shopping.

This is likely because a parent who is paying child support may be unwilling to pay additional money without the ability to decide how it is spent. At the same time, a parent receiving support may not have the same ability to cover additional expenses attributed to extra-curricular activities, such as ballet classes, piano lessons or football uniforms.

Some frustrated parents may want to take their problems to court and seek a support modification. However, it is important to know what governs these changes so that you have an idea of whether it will be successful.

First and foremost, court ordered child support generally does not cover expenses attached to piano lessons, football or soccer registration, or school uniforms. Unless specifically denoted in a support order, these expenses are left to individual parents to pay. So an unwilling parent may not be compelled to support these activities.

However, struggling parents should keep in mind that temporary support modifications may be available if one parent is experiencing temporary financial setbacks while the other is enjoying a great deal of success. A conversation with an experienced family law attorney can help in clarifying these situations and help a parent make informed decisions about child support.