Anyone who watched the 2016 Summer Olympics on television or who was fortunate enough to attend the Games in Brazil is aware of the tremendous costs associated with training for competition at such a high level. Through athlete interviews and commentaries, we learned that many American athletes come from divorced parents and that in order to afford their training, these athletes were required to work long hours at minimum wage paying jobs when they weren’t training.
Parents in Virginia who are considering divorce and have extremely talented children, even Olympic hopefuls, are probably nervous about how to afford the price tag of their child’s training and lessons after their marriage ends.
Obviously, the first place these parents should start is the child support provision(s) of their final marital settlement agreement. The Virginia child support guidelines permit the allocation of funds for a child’s extracurricular or athletic activities.
However, this allotment for extracurricular activities does not contemplate the exorbitant costs of training at an Olympic level. Often times, these costs include charges for multiple trainers and coaches, personal trainers, nutritionists or dieticians, travel expenses, and of course the costs of equipment and specialized athletic clothing. These costs can easily surpass hundreds of thousands – even millions of dollars! You should work with your divorce attorney to draft a marital settlement agreement that earmarks added child support for your gifted child. It is not uncommon to have settlement agreements that addresses the needs of gifted children. This way, both you and your soon to be ex-spouse will have planned ahead for your child’s athletic future and Olympic dreams, and memorialized it in a binding contract so there is no confusion over how your child’s training will be covered.
If you and your spouse cannot reach a mutual agreement in this regard, then your attorney should make the argument for added child support funds to the judge. When deciding whether to permit an increase in child support for athletic training, the court’s primary consideration will be whether the increase is in the child’s best interests. The court must also consider the income of both you and your spouse (after all, the court cannot order an increase in the child support obligation if you and your spouse simply cannot afford it), as well as any previous court orders concerning you and your spouse’s child support obligation(s) and/or parental decision-making authority.
If you are considering divorce or currently going through one and you are concerned about how your child’s athletic future will be paid for, you deserve the help of a caring professional who knows the law, will fight for your rights and the outcome you desire.
The DiPietro Family Law Group has teams of experienced family lawyers in Northern Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC. Contact us to schedule a consultation today at (888) 530-4374 or visit our website.