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Paying for extra child support expenses

North Carolina parents who divorce might need to negotiate child custody and support. Usually, support covers the usual costs of raising a child such as clothing, medical care and education. However, there is often a provision in child support agreements that deals with children who are gifted or have special needs. One question that might arise is who pays if the child wants to pursue a particular sport.

Several of the Olympic athletes on the 2016 U.S. team are the children of divorced parents. The expenses associated with the necessary training can be high. Costs for an aspiring Olympic swimmer in one family included $1,000 for every out-of-town swim meet, $600 in training fees monthly and $400 to $500 for swimsuits plus the costs of a nutritionist, sports massage therapist and more. Costs like these are above and beyond typical child support expenses.

However, a judge who decides that pursuing a particular skill is in the child’s best interests may make changes to parenting time or take the cost into account. Elements the judge might consider include parental income, the child’s enthusiasm and which parent tends to be most supportive of keeping the child involved with the activity.

If a child is already in an activity when the divorce occurs, parents may want to try to negotiate who will pay for the associated expenses. If the child’s interest arises after the divorce is final, parents might want to renegotiate some of the terms of the support agreement. They might work with their attorneys to revise the agreement, or it might be necessary to go to court and appear before a judge. Parents might also ask for child support modification if they have changes in their own lives, such as a job loss, that make it difficult to keep to previously agreed-upon payments.