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Paying for a child’s athletic future after divorce

On Behalf of | Aug 25, 2016 | Divorce

Many prominent athletes of the 2016 Olympic Games are children of divorce parents. This shows that a parental separation does not mean that a child has to put their athletic dreams on hold. However, divorced parents of future Olympic hopefuls from Virginia may have to decide how they intend to split the costs of training, lessons and other related costs.

The child support conditions spelled out in the divorce settlement should be the first source a divorced parent should consult. Many states allot part of child support funds to be used for certain “entertainment” activities, such as extracurricular sports expenses and lessons.

Typical child support funds are not normally allocated to cover the additional expenses Olympic-level training may require. However, the expenses for professional-grade trainers, tournaments, equipment, sports medicine personnel and other related costs may be paid for by child support funds that are earmarked for children who are gifted or have special needs. Many child support guidelines include language that refers to a gifted child. A parent looking for ways to fund his or her child’s Olympic dreams can make the argument that the child is gifted at a particular athletic activity. This may justify using the money to enhance the child’s skills.

When determining whether additional child support funds should be allocated to cover expensive athletic training, a judge will generally rule in the best interest of the child. The judge will consider three elements when making a decision: the income of each parent, the child’s dedication to the specific sport and any legal agreements or orders concerning child support responsibilities and decision-making guidelines for the parents.

Child support provisions can help determine who is responsible for paying for a child’s Olympic training. A divorce attorney might be able to determine which funds can be used.