Barbara J. Katzenberg, Attorney at Law

Have a gifted child? Get more in child support

Providing for children can be a challenging task. It is one thing to meet basic needs; it is a whole other ball game to provide the funds necessary to support extras, such as special talents. In Massachusetts, the amount of child support ordered is determined by a number of factors -- specifically the number of children requiring support and the payor's net income. However, it may be possible for custodial parents to request more financial support in order to help pay for approved extras.

Recently, in another state, the question of obtaining increased support for extracurricular activities was asked. The mother of a 13-year-old girl wanted more child support to help pay for her daughter's pursuit of an acting career. The child's father refused, so the case was taken to court.

The judge on this particular case did say that such expenses are generally to be paid for with the standard support order. However, modifications can be made for children who are said to be gifted in certain areas. Determining if a child is gifted can be a difficult task, as it can be subjective. In this case, though, the judge agreed that the girl qualified because she showed desire, ability, confidence and the willingness to work hard in order to achieve her goals; so, the support order was increased.

Paying to support a child's dreams and talents is hard, especially post-divorce when one's financial situation can be tight. While providing for basic needs is the purpose of child support, as seen in the above mentioned case, it is possible to seek increased support in order to fund a child's extra activities. Custodial parents in Massachusetts can, with the assistance of legal counsel, file the appropriate motions in an effort to accomplish this.

Source: nj.com, "Divorced parents of gifted children can be made to pay more in child support, judge says", Mary Ann Spoto, Nov. 9, 2016

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