A child’s education is an investment in the future. It creates the building blocks of their understanding of critical academic subjects, how they learn, and how they socialize with their peers. Some parents carry the belief that a private school education best serves their children’s needs and affords them their optimal chance of future success.
However, these parents can attest that private school is expensive. And when a couple divorces, decisions need to be made to account for the high financial costs of private school and whether to continue the child’s private education.
Courts May Deviate from Support Guidelines for a Child’s Educational Needs
Child support is a duty shared by parents, intended to provide for their children’s “necessary maintenance, health care, education and support.” Family courts calculate a parent’s child support obligation based upon the type of physical custody that is ordered and on the paying parent’s gross monthly income, which is multiplied by a predetermined percentage based on the number of children supported in the order. For example, the multiplier for one child is 18%, while it is 25% when there are two children.
Courts may deviate from these guidelines based on several different factors that are deemed worthy of increasing or decreasing an obligation. One of these deviating factors is “any special educational needs of the child.” This gives family courts the discretion to order one or both parents to pay for a child’s private school tuition. Some questions that may be relevant to this determination include:
- Whether attending private school is in the child’s best interest—which is a fundamental underlying question when it comes to orders affecting children.
- Whether the child has already been attending a private school before the request for child support, or whether the desire to send the child to private school is a new one. A child’s sense of normalcy is an important consideration for a court, and a child’s continuity of education will weigh heavily in adjusting a child support obligation.
- Whether one or both parents can afford private school tuition. If there isn’t enough income between parents to afford private school, then a court is probably not going to order it unless one parent volunteers to pay for it.
Contact Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P.
Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman, L.L.P. provides men and women with top-quality family law representation. If you need assistance resolving a child custody or child support issue, call us to speak with an attorney. Our attorneys are smart, experienced, and proven. With custody and access to your children at stake, you deserve a responsive, effective attorney who will fight for you. Call Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P. today at (775) 210-8178 to schedule a consultation or contact our office through our website.