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Child support for gifted athletes

Texas children of divorced parents have expenses that both parents have a duty to pay for. If one parent earns a bigger income than the other parent, the higher-earning parent may have to make child support payments to the lower-earning parent. While most child support orders cover the costs of food, shelter, clothing and other basic living expenses, some allocate extra funds for the needs of a gifted or special needs child.

Children who excel at sports and dream of becoming Olympic champions some day will require extra funding for coaching, travel and equipment in order to compete. Extra athletic expenses that go beyond basic sports lessons are usually not included in a child support order. However, if a judge sees proof that a child is an extraordinarily talented athlete, a gifted or special needs provision may be included in a child support order.

A parent who is seeking a higher child support award to cover a child's extra athletic expenses must demonstrate that the additional training is in the child's best interest. The judge's decision about including a gifted clause in a child support order will also be influenced by both parents' incomes, the child's commitment to their sport and the date that the child began participating in the sport.

In many cases, the parent who is the most dedicated to their child's athletic career will be the parent who must cover any extra athletic expenses after a divorce. A judge may require both parents to contribute to the child's athletic expenses if the judge sees proof that the child began participating in sports while the parents were still living together. An attorney may be able to help a parent to petition for additional child support to cover their child's participation in a sport.

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