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Can you force your ex to pay child support for private school?

On Behalf of | Jun 29, 2020 | High Net Worth Divorce |

While there is nothing inherently wrong with sending your children to public school, you may want them to take advantage of the many benefits of private school. Still, a private education is not often cheap. In fact, the average cost of private school in California is more than $14,000 per year.

If you and your ex-spouse believe private schooling is best for your kids, you can probably reach some agreement to pay tuition. On the other hand, your former partner may prefer to send your kids to public school. Can you force your ex to pay child support for private school tuition and related expenses?

Child support in California

When ordering child support, judges in the Golden State must consider the best interests of the children. They must also follow certain guidelines, carefully considering the income of both parents and their custodial time. Typically, judges order child support to cover the following expenses:

  • Food
  • Housing
  • Medical care
  • Education
  • Other related costs

Private education expenses

If you want your ex-spouse to pay all or some of the tuition at a private institution, you should be ready to argue your child needs private schooling. To do so, you may need to provide evidence of the following:

  • Your children’s unique educational requirements
  • Your children’s educational history
  • Your children’s religious and cultural background

The status quo

For children, thriving in a post-divorce family can be challenging. To help minimize the emotional and psychological effects of a divorce, judges tend to want to preserve the status quo. Accordingly, if your children already attend private school, a judge may decide keeping them there is in their best interests.

Similarly, if your ex-spouse has not had much involvement in your children’s education in the past, a judge may defer to the decisions you make. While considering your children’s current schooling is likely to be instructive, you must realize judges have wide latitude when ordering child support.

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