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Child support may not include extracurricular activities

When a child discovers an interest or talent, it can be a remarkable thing. Seeing a child develop as an artist or musician is gratifying for many parents in Pennsylvania, and most would do whatever they can to encourage and develop that talent. However, one divorced couple must now follow a judge's child support order to fulfill their daughter's dream.

The 13-year-old girl won the starring role in a school play and has auditioned for a part in a local theater production. Her dream is to perform professionally, and she wants to take lessons to work toward that goal. Such expenses are not included in regular child support, so a judge ruled that each parent must pay an extra $250 a year to cover the cost of the child's Broadway training. Currently, the parents have shared custody, and the father's monthly child support payments are $113 a month.

Recent appeals decisions state that extracurricular activities are already included in basic child maintenance payments, so more money should not be required for activities like cheerleading and gymnastics. However, the judge in this case was impressed by the girl's willingness to sacrifice her vacation to learn her craft. He felt that the child was committed to her dream of performing on stage and that it was not just a hobby for her.

Child support schedules for the state of Pennsylvania do not include tuition for private school or education beyond what is compulsory. However, courts are permitted to consider additional requests as individual cases warrant, requiring each parent to contribute as his or her income allows. When seeking such special considerations to one's child support orders, it is best to have the assistance of a family law attorney who will work for the best possible outcome for each situation.

Source: New York Post, "Your gifted kid is going to cost you more in child support", Julia Marsh, Nov. 3, 2016

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