School Supplies

Which parent buys the school supplies?

School supplies are usually not a section 7 expense. In parenting situations where one parent has day-to-day care of the child and the other parent pays child support, the child support should be sufficient to help cover the routine costs of supplies. If the school supplies are above average for whatever reason, then they could potentially be a shareable cost.

In shared parenting situations, school supplies are often treated like a section 7 expense or a shared cost by both parents. Some parents split the bill equally,  some pay by their Guideline percentage, while others find their own solution for sharing the costs. Most parents do not have an issue with providing their children with school supplies, paying school fees and contributing to the other costs associated with raising the child. 

In parenting situations with a Cheapskate or Deadbeat, where one parent is reluctant to contribute financially, the responsibility tends to fall disproportionately on the other parent. While this can be frustrating, the issue of school supplies alone might not be worth hiring a lawyer to pursue in court. Lawyers charge an average of $250-$450.00 per hour. Filing fees for court applications cost around $50.00. This is quite a bit more compared to the average price of school supplies for children. In these situations, parent’s should keep the receipts until child support and/or other issues arise.

What options are available for parents that can’t afford school supplies?

For low income households, school supplies are a routine seasonal expense that can lead to added financial stress. Some parent’s can be financially savvy and purchase school supplies from the dollar store or obtain gently used supplies to help reduce the costs. For other households, even inexpensive or used school supplies are unaffordable. 

The Edmonton Family Network recommends that those who are in need of assistance with school supplies or school fees communicate this directly to the school administration staff,  local community support agencies or #211, as they usually have connections to programs offering donated school supplies like Tools for School.

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