Who Pays Private School Tuition After Divorce?

Divorce hurts everyone, and children are often the most severely affected. That’s why one of the primary goals of divorce court is to minimize the damage to children. As a result, questions often come up about who will pay for extracurricular activities, tutors, private school, and other child related expenses.

If you are facing a divorce and you’re not sure how to move forward, we can guide you through the process. Reach out to Kirk Drennan Law at 205-803-3500 to talk to our team about your next steps.

Is Private School Necessary or a Luxury?

One of the questions that is sure to come up during negotiations is, “Is private school a luxury or a necessity in this situation?” Much depends on the child’s current circumstances.

If they are already enrolled in private school, the court may lean toward keeping them in that school. The court does not like uprooting children and causing any more change in their life when they are already going through a divorce.

However, if the child is not yet old enough to go to school or is currently enrolled in public school, the court may be less interested in forcing one parent to contribute to private school tuition. This depends largely on the circumstances of the marriage, if their other children attend private school, if they had prior plans to send the child to private school, and their financial means.

The Best Interests of the Child

No matter what, the decision comes down to what is in the best interests of the child. If one parent doesn’t want to pay private school tuition simply to cut off the other parent’s access to their money, the court is unlikely to allow that if it would hurt the child. On the flipside, if the child is happy in public school and one parent is pushing for private school to hurt the other parent financially, the court would probably not allow that either.

The Ability of Each Parent to Pay

If it is determined that it is necessary for the child to attend private school and that it is in their best interests to do so, who pays? This isn’t a situation that calls for an immediate 50/50 division. The court will look at how much each parent is able to pay toward the child’s expenses.

In a high asset divorce, for example, there is often a large discrepancy in income levels. In this situation, the court will likely order the high-earning parent to pay all or most of the school fees. The other parent may be expected to contribute if they have an income or if they have meaningful earning potential.

Agreement by Both Parties

Ideally, this situation will be resolved out of court. When you leave these decisions up to the judge, you lose control over the process. Even if no one is happy with what the court ultimately decides, you must still abide by it. When you come to a compromise out of court, you retain at least some control over the outcome.

This is where you need an attorney with strong negotiating skills. If it is very important to you that your child attends private school, you may have to compromise to get to a place where the other party will pay for it. This might mean giving up certain assets, taking on more debt, or agreeing to less spousal support. No one enjoys making these types of sacrifices, but if an issue is crucial enough to you, it might be the only way to get what you want.

Wherever you are in the divorce process, it is never too late to talk to a high asset divorce attorney and figure out your options. Whether you’re being urged to pay high private school fees or you’re up against a partner who doesn’t want to pay their share, we’ve been there, and we know what it takes to develop the right legal solution.

Let Kirk Drennan Law Help You During This Challenging Time

We know that you just want what’s best for your child during and after a divorce. Our extensive experience with high asset divorce cases makes us a natural choice for your case. To set up a time to talk, call our team at 205-803-3500 or contact us online.

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