How Is Debt Split In A Divorce

Going through a divorce means learning a new set of terminology, especially when it comes to finances. While divorce law is intended to clarify how to split debt, the process can get messy when either spouse fails to keep up with financial obligations.

It is essential to understand how assets and debt are split in a divorce in order to avoid potential long-term negative consequences.

Community property laws

Arizona has community property laws that divide all debts and assets acquired during the marriage equally between spouses. Pre-existing debt, like student loans from before the marriage, are not split.

In practice, couples do not have to equally divide every asset or debt if they negotiate different terms. For example, one spouse may agree to pay more than half of a mortgage or car payment so that the spouse with primary custody of the children has reliable housing and transportation. If the case goes to court, however, a judge may divide all assets and debts equally.

What a judge decides and what a creditor expects are different stories. If both names are on an account and the spouse taking responsibility for the debt doesn’t pay, both credit scores will be affected.

Exceptions

There are cases where certain property is considered separate, according to DivorceNet:

  • Any property, such as a vehicle or house, owned by one spouse before the marriage.
  • A gift or inheritance for one spouse before or during the marriage.
  • Assets covered by a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.
  • Certain retirement accounts.

Exceptions will not apply if spouses have “commingled” their separate property, such as when the original owner of a property adds a spouse to the title after marriage. A property is also considered community property if marital funds were used to pay the mortgage.

There are other gray areas, as well.

“Many types of assets can be partially community and partially separate, including retirement accounts in which one spouse contributed to both before and after the marriage, or a business one spouse started before marriage and continued operating after marriage,” according to DivorceNet.

A business owned by one spouse that the other worked at or funded during the marriage can be especially complicated when identifying what portion is community property. A couple will likely find it helpful to consult experienced divorce attorneys who can help determine the best way to divide proceeds.

Another exception to community property law is in cases of waste.

“For example if one spouse spent $100,000 of marital assets gambling, a judge may reduce the gambling spouse’s property award by $100,000,” according to DivorceNet.

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements

A prenuptial agreement is a contract before marriage that determines what will happen to a couple’s assets and debts if the marriage ends in divorce. Common stipulations include dictating which debts are owned by which spouse and who is the owner of certain property, collectibles, or vehicles.

“A prenup resolves the potentially emotional and difficult negotiations of a divorce before they even get started and helps prevent problems between you and your ex-spouse if anything happens to the marriage,” according to local law firm DeShon Laraye Pullen.

A postnuptial agreement does the same thing as a prenup but is created after a couple is married. It is an easy way to put in writing who owns a business or how to divide inheritances or properties accumulated during the marriage. A postnuptial agreement can also update a prenuptial agreement.

For more information on debt and divorce or to schedule a consultation with an attorney, visit deshonpullenlaw.com.

Gray divorce: Special considerations for late-life divorce

Divorce at any age can be difficult and may be especially painful if you’ve been with your spouse for many years. On the other hand, late-life divorce is a chance to pursue opportunities you’ve had to put aside.

No matter your plan for the future, there are special considerations when you divorce later in life.

Alimony

Because Arizona does not have a formula to determine alimony, there are many factors, including whether you were married a long time or whether one of you has greater earning ability than the other.

“While Maricopa County had a formula at one time, the court ultimately rescinded its use since judges were not required to follow it,” according to local law firm DeShon Laraye Pullen. “Instead, courts will look at a number of factors to determine the amount of alimony payments and how long those payments should continue.”

Other factors that could affect late-life divorce include the following:

  • The standard of living during your marriage.
  • The amount one spouse’s reduced income helped support the other spouse’s career.
  • Each spouse’s ability to meet individual needs without help.
  • Excessive spending or fraudulent use of shared resources.
  • The cost of health insurance for each spouse.

Health insurance

No matter your health concerns, it’s essential to consider insurance for future doctor visits, medication, and more.

“As soon as you know your marriage is ending, take steps to keep your existing health coverage in place and look for replacement coverage,” according to legal information site Nolo.

Individual plans have many options, according to Nolo:

  • Low-cost plans with limited options or expensive plans with more coverage.
  • Plans with no deductibles, co-pays, nor waiting periods.
  • Extra insurance for coverage like dental, prescription, and vision.
  • Catastrophic plans
  • Plans with limited coverage for those with preexisting conditions.

Depending on your income and age, you may qualify for Medicaid or Medicare.

Retirement

As you gather information about retirement plans, research distributions you can receive without tax penalties, whether you or your spouse need to repay any loans to a plan, and what contributions you’re entitled to after the divorce.

“Dividing retirement plans can be complicated, and requires careful attention when your lawyer is preparing the final paperwork for your divorce,” according to Nolo.

As for Social Security, you can collect on your spouse’s retirement benefits if you are at least 62 and were married 10 years or more. Consulting with an expert will help you determine the best path.

“Will one spouse draw off the other’s Social Security, or would he or she be better off drawing on their own Social Security benefits?” according to Woman’s Divorce. “These are answers you need before finalizing a financial settlement.”

Your house

Arizona is a community property state, which means property will generally be divided equally.

“If one spouse wants to keep more property or assets, such as one spouse keeping the family home, that person will generally have to compensate the other spouse, so the division represents a 50/50 split,” according to DeShon Laraye Pullen.

Before deciding, consider whether keeping the house will give you tax deductions, like mortgage interest, and whether you are eligible for certain real estate property tax exemptions and waivers for your age, according to Nolo. You may also want to use the house as rental income or access the equity later.

If you are going through a late-life divorce, the expert attorneys at DeShon Laraye Pullen can help. Visit deshonpullenlaw.com for more information and to schedule a consultation.

5 Questions to Ask During Your First Meeting with a Divorce Attorney

A divorce attorney is your lifeline to ensure your divorce progresses as smoothly as possible.

The first step when hiring an attorney is an initial consultation, where you share information about your divorce and ask questions. You should be prepared for this consultation with relevant documents, like a prenuptial agreement or any earlier legal proceedings to help your attorney get a good understanding for your story and provide you an accurate timeline and cost estimate, local family law firm DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC suggests.

Because a divorce attorney will need to know some intimate details about you, you may want to meet with a few attorneys until you find one you feel comfortable with.

Here are five questions to ask during your first meeting with a divorce attorney.

How much experience do you have with cases like mine?

You can find out before your meeting whether an attorney specializes in divorces or general family law, but you may not know about specific cases they’ve handled.

After you’ve shared the details of your case, you can ask whether it’s similar to other cases they’ve had. You can also ask for any details the attorney is permitted to share to determine if their experience will help them handle your situation.

How does your practice handle divorce cases?

While Arizona law will be the same for everyone going through a divorce, individual law firms may divide their work differently between lawyers and paralegals.

Some firms may have one attorney handle your case from beginning to end, while others may divide the work between a lead attorney, legal assistants, or other attorneys with experience in certain aspects of the case. Knowing how a law firm divides work will prevent confusion down the road with regards to who to contact with questions.

What are your fees?

Attorneys are legally required to be transparent about fees. There are variables in every divorce case, and they may not know exactly how much your case will cost, but they can tell you how to get the most value for your money.

For example, if they charge per interaction, they may recommend you save your questions and send them in a single email or make a single call at the end of the week.

No matter what attorney you choose, trials are costly — they can double your cost, according to legal encyclopedia Nolo — so you will likely pay less if you have an uncontested divorce, and your attorney should be willing to help you settle out of court whenever possible.

How long will my case take?

Case lengths vary based on complexity, but an experienced attorney can give you an estimate of how long your case will take. The average amount of time is one year, but they can take as long as 18 months if a trial is involved or as little as 8 months when uncontested, according to Nolo.

What advice can you give me?

Asking for advice during the initial consultation is important for two reasons: First, you can benefit from a divorce attorney’s knowledge and experience. Second, you can get a glimpse into whether this person is someone you can work with.

At DeShon Laraye Pullen, the attorneys have years of experience focusing on family law. For more information or to schedule an initial consultation, visit DeShonPullenLaw.com.

How To Bring Up Divorce With Your Spouse

It’s not unheard of for married people to occasionally think about ending their relationship. If you feel there is no chance for improvement or you are genuinely miserable, it may be time to move forward with a divorce.

Even if you are sure you want a divorce, it can be terrifying to raise the subject with your spouse. With preparation, you can have a productive conversation about what is often an unpleasant issue. Here are some tips to help you bring up divorce with your spouse.

Emotional Preparation

You may have mixed feelings about ending your relationship because you still care about your spouse, even if you no longer want to be married. If you’ve already discussed problems with each other or in therapy, you will likely feel more confident that you’re making the best choice for you.

Even with that confidence, consider beforehand how your spouse will react, so you can prepare for a range of emotions including tears, anger, a long conversation, or even no response. You know your spouse best, so go over scenarios in your head or even discuss them with someone you trust who will help you prepare what to say.

Do Your Research

Although you don’t need to be ready to sign paperwork, it is helpful to have an idea of what to expect during and after the divorce process. The process can include reviewing information about common issues, similar to the ones that local law firm DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC says you’ll need to know about:

  • Division of marital property and assets
  • Division of debts
  • Legal decision-making and parenting time
  • Child support
  • Spousal support

“The unique issues in each divorce case will depend on the length of the marriage, the property you own, whether you have children, and other factors,” DeShon Laraye Pullen says.

You do not have to resolve these issues the first time you bring up divorce, but you should be aware that these discussions are coming.

Choose the Setting

Although discussing a divorce can lead to a fight regardless of the setting, it may go smoother if you talk somewhere you both feel calm.

“You might want to have a meal prepared and a space you feel comfortable in before you speak to your partner,” Support and Solutions for Women says. “Your talk with your spouse might be long and involved, or it might be short and simpler than you think — either way, choosing a space where you feel safe is crucial.”

A safe place implies avoiding public places, such as restaurants, where it’s difficult to speak privately. Additionally, if you have children, ensure they are not within earshot and preferably not in the same location.

Follow a Script

You will need to be honest and direct with your spouse, so as not to give false hope for a reconciliation. To ensure you’re understood, consider the most important points you want to make.

“Plan out what you have to say ahead of time so you are prepared, and write it down if you must,” Men’s Divorce says.

Additionally, the tone of the conversation should be logical and considerate of both your needs. Focus on what you want or need and avoid assigning guilt about why the marriage is ending.

Hire a Lawyer

Even the most harmonious of divorces will benefit from having a divorce lawyer guide you through the process.

DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC encourages cooperation to resolve divorce issues economically and efficiently and is also well-equipped to represent you in an adversarial divorce case. For more information and to schedule an initial consultation, visit DeShonPullenLaw.com.

What Happens To Your House After Divorce?

If you own a house, it is likely your most valuable asset — and one that can’t simply be cut in half. As such, when going through a divorce, it’s important to understand the details of how you and your spouse can divide the property.

Here are answers to some questions you may have that will help you understand what happens to your house after a divorce.

Who is the legal owner?

The main factor in determining who owns the house after a divorce is who owned the house while you were married. If you bought the house while you were married, then you both own it.

“Arizona is a community property state, which means that courts view all property and assets acquired during the marriage as community property,” local law firm DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC says.

If only one of you owned it before the marriage and never added the other person to the mortgage or deed, nor used shared money to pay the mortgage, then the same person still owns the house. However, if your separate and shared properties were mixed, you may both be considered owners.

“For example, if a spouse who was the sole owner of the family home before the marriage changes the title to community property or uses marital funds to pay the mortgage, a court would consider this evidence that the owner intended to make a ‘gift’ of the home to the marital community,” Divorce Net says.

Will the house need to be sold?

You may choose to continue owning the house together, perhaps, so your children can continue living in it or to keep it as an investment property. In these cases, the debt needs to be assigned to one spouse, with the caveat that the other spouse could still be held responsible for it.

“Couples dividing debts should be aware that their separation agreement or divorce order is not binding on creditors, who may continue trying to collect a community debt from either spouse,” Divorce Net says.

Because you may prefer not to share property, you can choose for one of you to be the sole owner. In that case, “that person will generally have to compensate the other spouse, so the division represents a 50/50 split,” DeShon Laraye Pullen says.

A third option is to sell the house and divide whatever money is left after you pay off the mortgage.

How do negotiations work?

You can have a judge decide how your assets, including the house, are divided. Generally, your community property will be divided equally and your separate property will stay with each respective owner. The judge’s decision is final.

Alternately, you can come to an agreement without getting a judge involved.

“Reaching an out-of-court settlement agreement with your spouse is always more efficient and economical, as well as less stressful and emotionally draining,” DeShon Laraye Pullen says. “Relatively amicable, affordable and mutually empowering processes such as mediation, negotiation, or collaborative divorce might interest you.”

No matter the option you choose, a divorce lawyer can represent you throughout the process.

DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC encourages cooperation to resolve divorce issues economically and efficiently and is also well-equipped to represent you in an adversarial divorce case. For more information and to schedule an initial consultation, visit DeShonPullenLaw.com.

Avoid These Costly Mistakes in Divorce

Getting divorced can be complicated as you figure out how to split a combined life. More than dividing a bank account, you have to look at everything you shared with your spouse, including assets, mortgages, credit card debt and, of course, children.

While every divorce will inevitably include elements of emotional turmoil and financial headaches, you can take steps to improve the outcome. Here are some of the costliest mistakes to avoid in divorce.

Refusing Mediation

Generally, the quickest and least expensive divorces take place out of court with the help of a mediator and potentially each spouse’s attorney. If you or your spouse harbor strong ill will toward the other, you may be tempted to go straight to court, but keep in mind that costs will add up, and the final decision is entirely in the hands of the judge.

A mediator, on the other hand, can help you settle disagreements with compromises. You can still hire an attorney to advise you and even represent you at mediation meetings.

“Mediation also provides divorcing couples a lot of flexibility, in terms of making their own decisions about what works best for their family, compared with the traditional adversarial legal process, which involves a court trial where a judge makes all the decisions,” according to DivorceNet.

Forgetting About Taxes

Your tax obligations could change as you switch from filing jointly to filing as a single person, meaning there is the potential you pay more than before. Additionally, if you share children, only the custodial parent can claim them as dependents.

Until your divorce is final, you’re legally married, which means you may need to file taxes jointly if it wasn’t finalized before the end of the year. If you’ve been living separately, however, you may be able to file as head of household.

Back taxes could also be an issue, as you’ll both be responsible for their payment, but the amount owed will likely depend on how much money income you each contributed during the tax period.

Misunderstanding Assets and Debt

If you sell your house, the taxes will come out of how much you each make after paying off the mortgage. You’ll also have to pay capital gains taxes on any investments you sell, such as bonds, stocks, artwork, or other high value assets.

Arizona is a community property state, which means a court will generally divide any property equally between you and your spouse.

“If one spouse wants to keep more property or assets, such as one spouse keeping the family home, that person will generally have to compensate the other spouse, so the division represents a 50/50 split,” according to local law firm DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC.

The same idea goes for any debts you and your spouse took on while you were married. Debts are usually split, and settling them may require selling something you own together for one spouse to pay off half the balance.

Going It Alone

Your divorce attorney is key to keeping the process fair and moving along smoothly. Additionally, you might ask for help from a therapist, tax consultant and, in cases of domestic violence, law enforcement professional. Using the right expert ensures your attorney is focused on the legalities of your divorce.

If you are going through a divorce, the attorneys at DeShon Laraye Pullen can help you navigate through all the necessary details. Visit DeShonPullenLaw.com or call (602) 252.1968 for more information and to schedule an initial consultation.

Navigating the Return to School for Divorced Parents

This past year has been tumultuous, as the COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the globe. If you’re divorced and attempting to co-parent in the midst of the turmoil, the effort to maintain a sense of normalcy or consistency has likely been difficult, or even impossible.

In particular, schools have made a lot of changes, as children faced a new environment attending in person, online, or a hybrid of those. Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released guidelines suggestion a distance of 3 to 6 feet between students, depending on the transmission level in a community, and many students are headed back to a physical school building. (For quick reference, check ABC15’s status list for Arizona school districts.)

As you figure out your children’s education plans with your co-parent, here are a few tips:

Communicate Openly

To keep things amicable, HelpGuide suggests co-parents practice good communication skills, including listening with the intent to understand, making requests rather than demands, showing restraint, committing to keeping in consistent contact with each other, and staying kid-focused during crucial conversations.

Update Your Custody Agreement, If Needed

With your children’s schooling schedule changing, you may have to head back to court to iron out a new custody arrangement. You can do this even with a permanent custody agreement, if one of you has had a substantial or material change in circumstances. An example of this can include a school changing from online to hybrid or in-person learning, or an employment change that affects your or your ex’s ability to care for your children.

It is generally less expensive and in everyone’s best interest to avoid a court hearing and, instead, use a mediator, especially if you’re concerned that a judge’s decision will leave both of you unhappy.

“Everyone has a different risk tolerance with COVID and this is a decision with no right answer,” according to the National Law Review. “ A mediator can provide feedback and suggestions and offer a safe environment for you and your ex to trade ideas and work out a custody plan that works for everyone.

Keep Agreements Above Board

Unofficial changes to your custody agreement can be tricky because anything that deviates from the original court order is not legally enforceable. That could be a problem if you disagree about your arrangement in the future.

As for legal adjustments, think carefully about what you want, as they can be time-consuming and difficult to revert if one spouse does not agree with a change. For example, changing custodial parents to take advantage of a school district with the type of learning option you want could backfire in the long run, if you were hoping to return to what you had after a few months.

“It can be argued that a precedent has been set for a permanent change to school and parenting time,” according to the National Law Review.

Recalculate Child Support

Whether your kids head to school full- or part-time or are still learning from home, you might need to pay for childcare. That cost may be reflected in child support payments paid by the non-custodial parent. The Arizona Courts website gives information about how child support is calculated and how much is based on childcare costs.

If you need legal help navigating co-parenting as your kids return to school, visit DeShonPullenLaw.com or call (602) 252-1968 for more information and to schedule a consultation with an expert family law attorney.

How Divorce Affects Your Taxes

Preparing and filing taxes may feel especially overwhelming if you’ve recently gone through a divorce or are in the midst of one. You may be asking whether you should be doing your taxes alone or with your ex and what expenses you can claim.

These and other questions can have unique answers for divorced people working to disentangle their finances from each other. To help, here are answers to some questions for you to consider as you prepare to file your taxes.

Can I file a joint return with my ex?

The answer to this is simple and depends on your marital status as of Dec. 31 of the previous year. If you were still legally married that day, you can file a joint tax return for the year. If you prefer not to file a return with your ex, you can file separately but may need to communicate about income and deductions with each other.

If your divorce judgment was finalized on or before Dec. 31, you are considered divorced for the entire year — at least for tax purposes — and cannot file jointly.

How do I pay taxes on divided property?

With regards to property ownership, if you split what you owned between the two of you, there is nothing to be taxed. However, if you bought or sold property as part of the divorce, there could be tax consequences.

For example, if you sold property you owned as a couple and made money off the sale, you may need to pay capital gains tax. It can get complicated when you factor in how long you owned something and how much it was worth when you bought it, so check Internal Revenue Service rules to see what applies to your property.

Is alimony tax deductible?

Before 2019, spousal maintenance was tax deductible for the person paying it, which meant the person receiving it had to pay taxes on the amount. That is still the case for anyone with an agreement dated prior to 2019, according to the IRS.

However, if you were divorced in 2019 or later, or made a new agreement since that time, that policy has changed.

“Beginning on January 1, 2019, those paying spousal maintenance will no longer be eligible for a federal tax deduction on those payments,” according to local law firm DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC. “Recipients, meanwhile, will no longer be required to pay taxes on any spousal maintenance they receive.”

Is child support deductible?

In short, no. Just like married couples cannot deduct the money they spend on their children, divorced couples cannot deduct the money they spend on child support.

Who claims what money when it comes to taxes in a divorce situation?

It doesn’t matter who earned money while you were married, as both of you split that amount equally when filing taxes.

“In community property states like Arizona, the income earned by a couple is considered earned by both of them,” DeShon Laraye Pullen says. “Thus, one half of the income earned by a spouse while married is considered the income of the other, whether they file jointly or separately.

Are legal fees deductible?

For the most part, the answer is no, but there are a few exceptions. For example, if you received tax advice connected to your divorce or paid fees to figure out alimony, you can claim those as miscellaneous deductions. Your deductions can add up to no more than 2% of your adjusted gross income.

Navigating through the legal intricacies of divorce can be tricky, which is why an experienced attorney can be your lifeline. For more information and to schedule an appointment, visit DeShonPullenLaw.com or call (602) 252-1968.

Areas to Consider When You Divide a Marital Business During a Divorce

Some couples have to divide their businesses during a divorce. This can be a complicated process, so doing your research, and using your knowledge can certainly help the situation. There are three options at your disposal to understand before choosing the best option for your situation. These three options are briefly described below:

1. Buy-Out Your Partner

Buying out the other partner is an option many couples prefer. As an example, you have a marital business worth one million dollars, and the divorce agreement has given your partner 60% of the business. In such a case, you pay your partner $600,000 (60% of $1,000,000) and retain full ownership of the business. Although the buyout option is popular, it can cause potential financial strain on one of the parties. Discover a couple circumstances to consider a buyout:

You Have the Financial Means to Support a Buyout

You must have the finances to buy out your partner. Depending on your agreement, you can pay your partner in a lump sum or periodic payments, or provide them assets of equivalent value. For example, you can exchange marital assets for your partner’s business share.

You Believe in the Business

You shouldn’t buy a business on the decline unless you are confident you will turn it around. Ideally, you should only buy out your partner if the business is strong – and you believe in its’ cause or purpose. Thus, you should have an intimate knowledge of the business which may include a professional audit and valuation. Please note that the court cannot order one partner to buy out the other. You must agree with your spouse on any arrangement.

2. Co-Own the Business

Your business relations with your spouse doesn’t have to end after the divorce. You have the option to continue to run the business together post-divorce and divide the proceeds as per the divorce agreement. Below are some circumstances that make co-ownership attractive.

You Want to Keep the Business in the Family

The best way to keep the business in the family is to co-own it. That way, you can eventually transfer it to your children, or other beneficiary, through the development of a trust or other formal documented process.

The Business Is Your Main Livelihood

You shouldn’t sell your main source of livelihood because of a divorce. For example, if you have a law firm that generates the majority of your marital revenue, your finances are at risk of decline if you sell the business.

The Business Is Difficult to Sell

You may continue to co-own the business if it is difficult to sell. Maybe the economy is in a downturn, or the business has numerous debts. There may be other factors impacting this solution as ideal.

4. Sell the Business

A third option, which is also popular, is to sell the business and divide the proceeds. For example, if the marital agreement has given each of you equal shares of the business, you can sell it and divide the proceeds equally. Below are some of the circumstances under which selling the business makes sense.

Your Divorce Is Acrimonious

Co-ownership will be difficult if you are not on good terms with your partner. In such a case, sell the business and disentangle completely from each other.

You Don’t Want to Run the Business

You should also sell the business if you don’t want to run it. Maybe your partner managed the day-to-day operations of the business, and you have no business experience or interest. You may not have the time affordable to manage the business which impacts your need to sell the business.

You Don’t Have the Financial Means

Selling the business may make sense if you cannot afford any dips in performance that may or may not come with the divorce and change in structure. If you don’t want to co-own the business with your partner, and/or your partner wants a lump sum payment for a buyout, you may need to consider selling.

A divorce attorney can walk you through the above options and their application to your circumstances. DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC has more than enough experience with complex divorce issues. Contact us as soon as possible to help you with business division or any other divorce issue.

How to Get Private School Costs Included in Child Support

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:

Income

Include income from all sources. For example, you should include:

  • Salaries
  • 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.

Other Obligations

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.

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