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Special provisions after divorce for "gifted" children

When Colorado parents divorce, they usually must negotiate issues such as child custody and support. Usually, child support covers a child's needs including education, health care, housing, clothing and food. However, one thing that might come up is who pays and how much are parents obligated to pay if the child has special talents.

For example, several Olympic athletes came from divorced families including swimming gold medalists Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte and the gymnast Gabby Douglas. The cost of training for such an event can be very high. The family of one swimmer who aspires to the Olympics spends up to $500 on racing suits, around $1,000 to go to out-of-town events and $600 monthly in training. These figures do not include the services of a personal trainer and other professionals.

While such expenses are outside the range of typical child support expenses, state guidelines often do have a provision for gifted children. Furthermore, family courts are also committed to looking after the best interests of the child. However, this does not mean that a parent who is unable to afford these types of expenses will be forced to pay them. The child's enthusiasm for the activity, previous child support agreements and the income of each parent will all be considered. The parent who is more involved in the child's activity might be considered responsible.

Parents who anticipate special lessons, private schooling or other atypical expenses for their child or who are already paying for such things may want to try to negotiate these issues with the help of their respective attorneys during a divorce. If they cannot agree, a judge may be the one making the decision. If circumstances change after an agreement has been put into place, parents might be able to renegotiate or it may be necessary to return to court and ask for a modification.

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Cooper, Tanis & Armas, P.C.
42 Garden Center
Broomfield, CO 80020