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Judge orders increased child support payments for gifted child

There are few parents who haven't taken the opportunity to talk about how smart their children are. And while many children do shine from time to time, there are some kids whose talents are genuinely exceptional. Sometimes supporting that talent can mean extra expenditures for a parent. A judge's recent ruling regarding one such child may end up impacting child support settlements in other jurisdictions, including here in Alberta.

Two parents who divorced in 2009 were back in court this year to discuss a proposed change to child support payments. Currently, the father pays $113 monthly to his ex-wife in support of their 13-year-old daughter. The daughter has shown a talent for acting, and a strong desire to pursue a career in performing arts. She aspires to appear on Broadway, but that would require additional support to afford acting lessons. 

Despite similar cases in which parents sought extra money to pay for hobbies and sports being rejected, the judged ruled that this young lady was seeking more than a mere hobby. In his decision, he stated the child was "extremely articulate" and had an extraordinary drive to dedicate herself to acting. He ordered both parents to provide $250 each per year for training.

There is nothing in Alberta law that requires additional child support for extra-curricular activities, though so-called "special expenses" may be considered. If one parent deems the extra support necessary for the greater good of the child, however, it may be possible to come to an agreement without having to go to court. A family law firm may be the right place to begin discussions regarding supplemental or increased payments for children with special needs or unique abilities.

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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