Pennsylvania Family Law and Divorce
Lisa Marie Vari & Associates, P.C.

Can a Judge Decide What Activities My Child Can Participate in During a Custody Case in Pennsylvania?

Anyone who knows anything about custody cases in Allegheny County and the rest of Pennsylvania knows that the standard is the best interest of the child. Especially when it comes to school choice cases, courts will often look favorably on schools with extensive lists of extracurricular opportunities and activities for the children to be involved in. This issue becomes even more important when children are very passionate or gifted in a specific sport, activity or art. Usually, the parent who is best able to support the child's involvement in an activity about which they are passionate may have the upper hand in a custody case.

However, extracurricular activities can sometimes have an unexpected impact on custody cases. Recently, a Virginia judge ordered a 10-year-old gold prodigy to stop competing in golf tournaments over the next year as part of her parents continuing seven-year custody battle. The order also bars her from taking any lessons with a golf pro, with the exception of her dad. The ruling allows the child to play one round of golf per week or five hours of golf. This order came after a long-term litigation and a full scale custody trial. The child's mother was awarded sole legal and physical custody of the child, a decision that is as rare in Virginia as it is in Pennsylvania. The child's father, who also serves as her caddie and coach, was ordered to attend anger management. Although the father has publicly questioned the ruling, there has been now official word as to whether he intends to appeal the court's ruling. Although it does seem interesting that the father's most significant concern is about the restrictions on the child's playing golf rather than the significant limits on his custody time.

Although such a ruling is not very common in Pennsylvania custody cases, child support decisions can sometimes limit the activities that children are involved in. Typically, in support cases, courts will order that the parties pay for the mutually agreeable extracurricular activities based on their proportional incomes. When parents enroll their children in activities without the consent of the other parent, they are usually not required to pay anything toward that extracurricular activity unless they do so voluntarily.

If you have questions about how extracurricular activities your children are involved in may impact your custody or support case, contact our Pittsburgh office today!

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