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How divorced parents may pay for a child’s sports dreams

Many Virginia parents want their kids to dream big. However, if they dream of being Olympic champions or even just getting to higher levels in their chosen sport, parents may find that the costs increase. If the parents are divorced, paying the additional coaching and lesson fees can be very difficult.

Just because a couple is divorced does not mean that a child has to give up on the dream of becoming a sport sensation. In some states, courts can potentially use the child support guidelines to set aside some of the child support for the cost of the sport. This money is often earmarked as “entertainment” and may also cover other extracurricular activities such as concert tickets or a day or two at the amusement park.

If the child shows major promise and dedication in their chosen sport, parents may find that the fees skyrocket. In some cases, the sport can cost several thousand dollars a month if not more. For these children, the court may invoke a special “gifted” child clause that provides more money for the sport. However, the court must first deem that it is in the child’s best interest to continue being involved in the sport.

Although a divorce can be very upsetting for a child, the court may believe that it is in the child’s best interest to continue with school and after-school activities as normal. This may include continuing any sports they may be interested in trying or were already involved in. The court may potentially earmark a certain amount of the child support specifically for that sport. If a parent has a financial downturn, a family law attorney may assist with petitioning the court to modify the child support order to reflect the change.

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