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Getting child support ordered for private school attendance

One concern of some California parents who are going through a divorce is whether the noncustodial parent may be ordered to contribute child support amounts for private school education. While judges won't always make such orders, they will in certain cases.

Courts rely on guidelines contained in the state's family law code regarding child support orders. In special circumstances, judges may decide to order an amount that is different than the base amount called for in the guidelines. One of those circumstances could be private school attendance. There are specific facts that may influence a judge's decision, including whether or not the child has already been attending private school, whether the noncustodial parent only started objecting to private school attendance after the child support request was made and the affluence of the parents.

If a child has already attended private school, a court is more likely to order the noncustodial parent to pay child support for tuition. Similarly, if the parent began objecting only after child support was requested but was always fine with the child's attendance in the past, the court is likelier to issue the order. Courts also tend to order private school tuition contributions when the family is affluent.

A private school education is very important to many parents, but tuition and fees that seemed within reach when the parents were married can become more difficult to make when the parents are divorced and are each living on one income. Family law attorneys will tell their clients that, as is the case with similar matters, a court will largely base this type of decision on what is in the best interests of the child.

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