My Ex & I can’t agree on our kids’ extracurriculars. What are my options?

✚ My Ex & I can’t agree on our kids’ extracurriculars. What to do? What are my options?
Last Updated on October 25, 2023 by Carlos Lopez

Kids and extracurricular activities go hand-in-hand. Whether it’s dance lessons, a sports team, or chess club, kids of all ages express themselves and refine their talents through extracurricular activities.

When you’re separated from your child’s other parent , extracurricular decisions can take on a new level of meaning.

Maybe you and your ex don’t agree that your child should join that club, or the cost seems too high. Perhaps one of you is worried that the scheduling demands will be a burden.

Whatever the reasons, battling it out with your ex over what sports, clubs, and activities your child should pursue can be a source of great stress and frustration.

What if my ex wants to enroll our kids in extracurricular activities I don’t agree with?

If your ex wants to enroll your children in an extracurricular activities you don’t agree with, or at a place you don’t agree with, whether or not you have the ability to intervene depends on a few factors.

You and your ex have joint decision-making over activities

If you and your ex have joint decision-making over extracurricular activities, yes, your ex should consult with you and weigh your opinion regarding the number, type, and location of all extracurricular activities.

In the event that you have talked over the details of the extracurricular and still cannot agree, you may need to attend mediation to discuss the extracurricular.

A mediator can help you both work toward a compromise and avoid further stress and expense on this issue.

Your ex wants an activity that encroaches on your parenting time

Perhaps your ex wants to sign your child up for soccer, and all the practices are during their time but there are some games that take place during your time.

You are under no obligation to take your child to activities during your parenting time, and your ex cannot force you to take your child.

Extracurriculars are not like school or medical appointments; they’re not deemed necessary for your child’s growth and development.

If you have other activities planned during your parenting time, you’re well within your rights to skip your child’s extracurricular. And your ex can do the same.

However, be sure to consider your child’s wishes and best interest when deciding whether to attend an extracurricular or not.

Will your child be disappointed to miss that practice or game? Is the reason you’re skipping in your child’s best interest, such as a fun outing or family event, instead of just out of spite? Will your child’s progress be hurt by missing that game or practice?

Yes, you may disagree with your child being enrolled in that activity, but unless you have solid reasoning against the activity (it’s detrimental to your child’s health or well-being, for example), refusing to take them only hurts your child.

What if parents disagree on extracurricular activities or how much to spend on them?

Extracurricular activities can be expensive, especially as children get older and equipment gets more costly.

If you and your ex don’t agree on how much to spend on a particular extracurricular activity, but you both agree that it’s a valuable experience for your child, finding a way to compromise may be necessary.

Can your child find other places to pursue this activity that may be more cost-effective? Can one parent pay a larger share of the costs, especially if the other parent is worried about being able to afford the activity? Is individual fundraising available to help cover the extra fees?

Ultimately, if one parent wants the child to participate in an activity but the other cannot or does not want to pay, then it’s up to that parent to shoulder the cost


1. Can spouse prevent children from playing sports?

When parents divorce or separate, one of the many challenges that can arise is deciding on children’s extracurricular activities, including sports.

In many cases, one parent may want their child to participate in certain sports, while the other parent may disagree. Whether a spouse can prevent children from playing sports largely depends on the custody agreement and the specific laws in your state or country.

Generally, if both parents share legal custody, they both have the right to make decisions about their child’s activities, including sports. Unless one parent has sole legal custody, it’s usually not possible for one parent to unilaterally prevent a child from participating in a sport.

However, if there’s a disagreement, parents may need to seek mediation or court intervention to resolve the issue.

If a parent believes that the other parent is preventing a child from participating in sports out of spite or for other non-beneficial reasons, it may be necessary to go to court. Legal action can be taken if it’s believed that the child’s best interests are not being served.

In such a case, it could be helpful to gather evidence showing how the sport benefits the child, such as improving their physical health or social skills.

2. What if father won’t take child to extracurricular activities?

Things can get tough when a child’s father refuses to take them to their after-school events. Talking about it openly and honestly should always be the first step.

Explain him about how these activities will help the child grow physically, emotionally, and socially, since these activities aren’t just for fun; they’re also a way to teach important life skills like commitment, teamwork, and time management.

If the dad still won’t help, you might have to think of other choices. You could change the child’s activity plan so that they can go to theirs during the time you have with them.

This choice might not always be an option, though, and it’s important to make sure it doesn’t throw off the child’s schedule too much.

Remember that the main goal is to put the child’s needs first. For the sake of your child’s happiness and growth, try to find shared ground and work together to solve the problem.

3. Should parents force their child to do extracurricular activities?

To make their child do recreational activities or not is a problem that a lot of parents have to deal with.

It’s difficult to reconcile directing the child’s growth and without imposing on their preferences.

Extracurricular activities improve social skills, commitment, and health.

However, pushing a child to do something they don’t like might cause resentment and a negative association.

Parents should encourage their kids to explore new activities, but the kids should decide.

Additionally, parents must consider the child’s academic load and spare time. Stress and exhaustion can result from overcommitting a child. It’s crucial to balance education, extracurriculars, and relaxation.

Childhood should be pleasant and about experiencing the world at their own speed.

Finally, remember that each child has unique interests and strengths. Parents should not limit their children to traditional hobbies and explore other choices. Dance, drama, computing, gardening—the list is vast and depends on what makes the youngster happy.

Forcing a child into extracurricular activities is unwise. Create an environment that promotes exploration and learning.

Bottom Line

While compromise and cooperation are the name of the game and will ultimately serve your child’s best interests, there may be situations where you and your ex just cannot agree.

Unless there is a demonstrable risk to your child from the activity itself, where the activity takes place, or people who are around during that activity, try to make every effort to support – financially and with your time – the activities your child chooses.

No one can force you (or your ex) to pay or attend an event during your parenting time, but putting your differences aside for the good of your child will go a long way.

Child Custody Attorney in Washington, D.C.

When you first separate from your child’s other parent, it can be difficult to predict all the issues that may arise as the years go by.

From paying for college to whether your child plays football, many separated parents have disagreements about something that crops up months or even years after the divorce is finalized

At Lopez Law Firm, we do our best to help you anticipate these potential pitfalls and work through them early, giving you and your child more peace and stability as the years go on. Schedule your consultation today!


  1. Israel says:

    I totally get the struggle of agreeing on extracurriculars with an ex. Its like trying to solve a Rubiks cube blindfolded! #ParentingProblems

    • Nylah Perez says:

      Agreeing on extracurriculars with an ex can be challenging, but comparing it to solving a Rubiks cube blindfolded? Thats a bit of a stretch. Lets not exaggerate and focus on finding practical solutions for our parenting problems instead.

  2. Gabriel says:

    Wow, this article is a real eye-opener! Who knew extracurricular activities could be so complicated? #ParentingProblems

  3. Frankie says:

    I say, let the kids decide! Its their time to explore and try new things. #KidsRule

  4. Phoenix Davis says:

    Who cares about extracurriculars? Let the kids enjoy their childhood and have fun!

  5. Malani Vu says:

    Ugh, dealing with exes and their opinions on kids activities is such a headache! #coparentingdrama

  6. Callan Higgins says:

    I totally get the struggle of not agreeing with your ex on kids activities. Its so frustrating! #CoParentingProblems

  7. Jude says:

    I cant believe my ex wants to enroll our kids in that activity. Seriously? 🙄 #ParentingProblems

  8. Valery Carson says:

    I think its important for both parents to compromise and find common ground.

    • Leland says:

      Are you serious? Compromise? Common ground? Thats just wishful thinking. Parents need to stand their ground and fight for what they believe in. No room for weak compromises here.

  9. Jay says:

    I totally get it, co-parenting can be a rollercoaster! Have you tried compromising on the extracurricular activities?

    • Julianna says:

      I understand the struggles of co-parenting, but compromising on extracurricular activities is easier said than done. It requires open communication and understanding from both parties. Hopefully, they can figure it out for the sake of their childs happiness.

  10. Anya Anthony says:

    I think compromising is key in these situations. Maybe try finding a middle ground activity?

    • Alan Lam says:

      I understand the concept of compromising, but sometimes its just not enough. If one person always has to give in, its not fair. Maybe its time to prioritize your own happiness and find someone who shares your passions.

  11. Aliza Livingston says:

    I think its important to find a compromise that respects both parents wishes. #CoParentingGoals

    • Audrey says:

      I completely disagree. Co-parenting should prioritize the well-being of the child, not the desires of the parents. Its about putting aside differences and working together for the childs sake. Compromise is necessary, but not at the expense of a childs happiness. #ChildFirst

  12. Novalee Leon says:

    I totally get the struggle! Maybe its time for a friendly thumb wrestling match to decide? 🤼‍♂️

  13. Capri says:

    Comment: Ugh, dealing with exes and extracurriculars can be such a headache! Cant we all just agree to let the kids choose? 🤷‍♀️🏀

  14. Alessandra Carroll says:

    I think its important for parents to find middle ground when it comes to extracurriculars.

    • Jones Hopkins says:

      Nah, parents should let their kids explore and pursue their interests freely. No need for middle ground. Let them discover their true passion, even if it means juggling multiple extracurriculars. Lifes too short for compromises.

Comments are closed.