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Working youth athletics into the parenting schedule

During the course of a Florida divorce, there is a seemingly endless list of topics that parents must address. It can be easy to overlook important items, especially those that do not specifically revolve around child support or the division of parenting time. Youth athletics is a perfect example of a topic that should, but often does not, make the list of negotiation points. Yet, for a child who is serious about pursuing a career or scholarship in athletics, discussing this issue should be part of the parenting schedule negotiations.

When a child becomes deeply involved in sports or any type of competitive extracurricular activity, parents are placed under a heavy burden. The investment of time alone can be steep, as the child must be transported to practices, performances, games and so on. In addition, the expense of elite-level sports can be staggering and can pose a challenge to families. When a divorce takes place, parents should discuss how the change in family structure will impact the child's participation.

For example, will both parents work together to make sure that the child gets to practices and games, no matter how those obligations impact parenting time? Will they split the cost of those activities and will a ceiling be placed on those expenses? If both parents are not equally supportive of a child's athletic participation, then it might be necessary to outline each party's responsibilities during the negotiation process.

The recent Olympics demonstrated the heights to which youth athletes can climb when given healthy parental support and encouragement. Even for Florida kids who have their goals set on the varsity team instead of the Olympic team, working extracurricular activities into the parenting schedule negotiations can be worthwhile. At the end of the day, supporting kids in healthy and rewarding pursuits is a critical part of parenting, and should be a goal that both parents share.

Source: commdiginews.com, "Kids, sports and divorce: bringing up the next Olympic star", Myra Fleischer, Aug. 13, 2016

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