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Does child support cover private schooling?

The Denver metro area has its share of top-rated private schools. If your son or daughter attends St. Mary’s, Kent, Colorado Academy or any other private institution, you may have some concerns about paying tuition and other expenses after your marriage ends.

In Colorado, both parents have a legal obligation to support the particular educational needs of the child. If you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse cannot reach an agreement about child support, a judge is apt to order each parent to pay a percentage of adjusted gross income. When making child support orders, however, judges weigh many factors. Your child’s reasonable educational needs and continuity of education are two important ones.

Reasonable educational needs

Colorado’s child support guidelines require parents to pay for the child’s reasonable educational needs. Because most children attend public school, educational costs are typically low. Even though private school tuition may be expensive, your child may have a reasonable educational need to attend a nonpublic institution. This is true even if your son or daughter does not have a developmental disability or other issues that require specialized education.

Continuity of education

Because divorce can have an adverse psychological effect on children, you likely want your child to have as much consistency as possible. If your son or daughter already attends a public school at the time of your divorce, a judge is likely to see value in keeping him or her there. Therefore, unless there is a valid reason to interfere with your child’s existing education, you can probably expect your child support order to cover the costs of private schooling.

While there is nothing wrong with sending your son or daughter to public school, a private education may set your young one on the path of a lifetime worth of success. If you cannot reach an agreement with your spouse about paying for tuition, fees and other expenses, you may be able to convince a judge to order your partner to pay increased child support to cover these costs.

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