Having a child with special talents is a gift in and of itself, but may involve more expenses than anticipated. This makes last week’s New Jersey family law decision that a parent of a gifted child may have to pay additional child support all the more practical. A New Jersey family law Judge said that if there is some clear indication that the child is gifted, a parent could pay more in child support to meet that child’s needs in developing their talents.

The New Jersey child support guidelines do not address the needs of a gifted child, so there is no clear indication of how much, if any, additional support a parent must pay. Instead, the new ruling encourages the consideration of all facts on a case-by-case-basis. If a child falls into this category, a Court will consider whether additional child support is a financial possibility for the parent.

So what qualifies a child as gifted? As reported by the New Jersey Law Journal, Judge Lawrence Jones defined a gifted child as “one who excels or has a keen involvement in academics, athletics, technology or the arts.” He noted that this definition could be broadened. The child in this case was interested in acting, and had demonstrated a desire to continue to pursue her talents. Other examples may include a child who displays excellence in academics or sports.

This ruling is a step toward making sure a child’s need are met. It may help alleviate issues between parents of a child with extraordinary abilities, where the cost of the child’s needs exceed the costs usually considered when determining child support.

If you have questions about your gifted child’s needs or are interested in how this ruling could impact your support payments going forward, contact Petrelli Previtera, LLC today. Our experienced attorneys can answer your questions and help you determine how to move forward.