Will Child Support Cover Private School Tuition?

When you have minor children and are faced with an impending or likely divorce, you may wonder about who will be responsible for continuing to pay private school tuition, and whether or not that tuition can or must be paid from any child support ordered by the Court.


According to case law on the issue, the Court can take into consideration a child’s educational needs – and whether or not those needs require private school may impact the award of child support. The fact that one parent may refuse during a divorce proceeding to continue to pay for private school tuition that they previously paid for does not in and of itself mean that child support for private school tuition will not be ordered. If your child attends private school because of special educational needs, those needs should be explained to the Court by your attorney before the Courts makes it’s child support determination.


The California Family Code dictates the mandatory calculation to determine child support, which takes into account both parents’ ability to pay support, but not does include “special” or unique child-related expenses like private school tuition. The award of additional child support to fund private school tuition is known as a “discretionary add-on”, as a private school education is seen by the law as a discretionary expense, rather than a mandatory one. Your divorce court judge will therefore have the discretion to order support explicitly for part, or all, of your child’s private school tuition.


Because of the discretionary nature of this child support add-on, your attorney will need to present all the compelling facts of your case to the Court in order to convince them to award separate child support to cover private school tuition.


With over 25 years of experience representing families going through divorces and other family law matters, the law firm of Anne Dowden Saxton has the experience, knowledge and compassion to present your best case to the Court, and to argue for the award of additional child support in order to continue your child’s education at the institution of your choosing. Call us today to set up your free consultation, and to speak to our knowledgeable and friendly staff.

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