During a divorce, the court will not automatically include private school costs in child support calculations. You have to convince the court of the need for private school. Below are some things you may need to prove to strengthen your case.
You Want to Maintain the Status Quo
You have a better chance of success if the child is already in a private school. Your divorce should have minimum impact on your kids. If the child is already in a private school, then you will disrupt their lives and education if you move them to a public school. The court may agree with you if the child has been in private schools since they started formal education.
The Child’s Religion Requires It
Another tip is to prove private school is necessary for the child’s religious upbringing. This argument may work if you can prove:
- Both parents are members of the same religious organization
- You agreed to bring up the child in the same religion
You have the best chance of success if you are a member of the same religion for a long time. However, you might not succeed if you recently joined the religion during your divorce.
You Are Involved in the Child’s Education
You may also need to prove your involvement in the child’s education. The court may believe your involvement if you prove:
- You help the child with homework
- You helped choose the current school
- You attend parents meetings at the school
- You help the child with school projects
The involvement may show the court you understand the educational needs of the child.
The Child Has Special Needs or Gifts
Some children have special needs or gifts that private schools are more equipped to handle than public schools. If you have such a child, then you need to prove how they will benefit from the private school. For example, your child may need a private school if:
- Your child is a gifted artist and the private school has a great art program
- Your child has a disability the private school can accommodate better than public schools
You need to prove both the special need or gift and how a private school can meet it better than a public school. For example, you can use an educational expert as a witness to help the court understand the issue better.
Your Older Children Attended Private School
Another tip is to show the court you have older children who attended private school. This can help you prove:
- You have always valued private school
- Affordability is not an issue (if your financial circumstances haven’t changed)
- You want the same education for all your children
You may have an even stronger case if both of you also attended private schools. Parents often want the same (or better) education for their children they had.
The Noncustodial Parent Can Afford It
Lastly, you also need to prove the noncustodial parent’s ability to pay private school tuition. Their ability depends on various factors, such as:
Include income from all sources. For example, you should include:
- Trust income
- Commissions and benefits
- Profit from businesses
- Capital gains on properties
For a parent who is voluntarily underemployed or unemployed, the court may compute the income the parent should earned under normal circumstances.
The court will also consider other financial obligations of the noncustodial parent. Other obligations include children from previous relationships and spousal support.
An experienced divorce lawyer can help you prove your case and get the best education for your child. DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC has a wealth of experience in family law issues. Contact us today so we can review your case and advise you on the best way forward.