Robert G. Smith, PLLC

Paying for a child's sports dream as a divorced couple

Caring for children and ensuring that they get the chance to pursue their big dreams can be difficult for many single New York parents. However, there are often ways that allow custodial parents to put a certain amount of child support towards their offspring's school or competitive activities.

Most states have child support guidelines that allow for a certain amount of the child support award to go to sports and other activities. This amount usually comes out of a portion that has been earmarked for "entertainment" by the court. This money is expected to cover not only portions of the cost of the sport but can also be used for things like going to a movie theater or a concert.

If the child shows determination and shows the signs of reaching higher levels in their sport, the court may allow more child support to be used towards paying for additional coaching, classes and even clothing or equipment. While this can raise the amount of child support a noncustodial parent may owe, the court cannot force a parent to take out another mortgage on their home. The amount of child support that may be earmarked for the activity will depend on each person's income and whether or not the child was already involved in the activity prior to the divorce.

Although high-level sports can be expensive due to the additional costs, the court may still factor in parental income when it comes to determining how much may be set aside. A family law attorney may gather the noncustodial parent's financial information so an appropriate amount may be awarded to the custodial parent. Additionally, the attorney may assist with drafting an agreement that allows both parents to attend competitions and other events involved with the child's sport.

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