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It seems like school lunches are a lot fancier than they used to be – deli options, gourmet options, hot options, etc. Do you let your children select their own lunch? Do you encourage them to “brown bag it”? Or do you budget what they spend? Parents have different opinions on it, and many parents who may no longer be “together” and are co-parenting, definitely have different opinions on it.

Are those lunch costs considered a child care expense? Should you be obligated to pay for a percentage those school lunches, even if you’ve packed a lunch for your kids whenever they are in your care?

Wolf & Shore, LLC has handled hundreds of parenting disputes, and this issue comes up more than you think. The answer is, that while school lunch is certainly a child-related expense, there is no one true answer. It’s all about communicating with your co-parent, and working together to see what is financially feasible for your family.

It’s typical that parents don’t see to eye-to-eye on expenses, especially when you’re no longer together. Some parents feel like it is not their responsibility to pay  for school lunches when they can easily make a lunch for their child(ren). But, what happens when the other parent’s position is that the child(ren) prefer to buy lunch at school? Should the cost be divided equally? Or should you each do what you want on your days? This is becoming an increasingly hot topic in divorce and custody matters, especially as the cost of these school lunches is on the rise.

Compromise is key in these types of matters. If you are able to have a calm conversation with your child’s other parent about this, you may want to try to communicate why paying for school lunch is a hardship, or a good idea, or not a good idea – whatever your position may be.

Our firm understands that not everyone can effectively communicate with their co-parent, and are here to help you. We can help negotiate a reasonable agreement regarding school lunch, along with other child-related expenses. We can also refer you to a number of professionals to help you with communication and finances, such as a co-parenting counselor or a financial advisor, if you need that.

If you need assistance in your matter, contact us today for a confidential consultation! We can be reached here, at 203.745.3151, or

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