High-Speed Internet Added To Child-Support Payments

A judge in Canada tells a father that he has to pay for high-speed Internet access because the Web is an important learning tool.



Braces, glasses, tutors, and high-speed Internet? It's not exactly a traditional child-support cost, but a judge in Canada says that it's up to Dad to pay for online access for his 16-year-old twin sons.

Justice Donald Lee of the Court of Queen's Bench in Alberta said that the high-speed Internet connection offered by Cablevision is an important learning tool because it gives the children a vast new set of resources. "It is also important that 16-year-old children be exposed to the Internet in this way as much as reasonably possible especially given their learning challenges and deficiencies," wrote Lee in a recent ruling.

The father in the case balked at the payment, which was included in a $700 annual charge for roller-hockey expenses, summer school and pool passes, and computer-equipment purchases. He argued that such amenities are not required to meet the children's educational needs, and that computer resources are available through public libraries and school. He also argued that the Internet charges should be reduced because the boys' mother uses the connection for her own E-mail and Web surfing.

But Lee dismissed the objection saying that he had faith the mother would give priority to the children and only use the Internet when they didn't need it. Lee wrote: "The purchase of computer equipment is, in my respectful opinion, quite important and necessary for two 16-year-old children at this stage in their secondary education, particularly when the father has already conceded quite properly that these children require $4,000 per year for tutoring costs as part of their educational program."

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