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Helton Law Firm, PLLC

Paying for private school after a divorce

Most Tennessee parents who are going through a divorce know that providing for their child's education is a paramount concern. In the majority of divorce cases that go before a judge, non-custodial parents will be ordered to pay child support. This may cause complications in cases where one parent desires for the child to attend private school and the other does not.

Child support determinations are largely based upon state guidelines that take into account a variety of factors. However, courts for the most part have a degree of latitude when setting an amount, and additional educational expenses in the form of private school tuition and fees will sometimes be added on to the basic award.

If the child had already been attending private school prior to the divorce, a court likely require a non-custodial parent to continue to pay a portion of the expenses. Since the non-custodial parent consented to pay for private school education before the divorce took place, a court may find that the best interests of the child require that payments be continued, as changing schools could be disruptive. In addition, courts will also be more prone to order private school expenses as part of child support if the parents are affluent or if it is a parochial school and religion is important to the family.

Child support can often be a sticking point for parents who are ending their marriage. A parent who is concerned about the amount of child support that a court may order may want to have the assistance of a family law attorney in negotiating an agreement with the other parent that covers this issue and which the court will accept.

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