Can the court order parents to pay for private school?

Can the court order paren…
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Every state and the District of Columbia has child support guidelines. Most of those guidelines result in the establishment of what is referred to as “basic” child support. Depending on the jurisdiction, the court often has authority to allocate certain expenses in addition to basic child support. These expenses typically include such things as the cost of health insurance for the children, work-related childcare, extraordinary medical expenses, and private school.

If the parents do not agree on the propriety of private school for children, the court has the authority to determine whether private school is an appropriate expense. If so, the court can allocate the cost between the parties.

In determining whether private school is appropriate, the court considers such factors as:

  • the child’s educational history, including how long the child has attended a particular school
  • the child’s performance while in private school
  • whether there is a family history of attending private school, or a particular school
  • whether the parents made the decision to enroll the child in private school before the issue of divorce arose
  • the parents’ ability to pay, and
  • any other factor the court deems relevant

If your case involves a dispute over whether a child should attend private school, make sure your attorney knows the law and the evidence you need.