Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Feb 5, 2020

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Depending on the particular circumstances of the situation, it is possible that a judge will order a parent paying child support to cover the cost of a private school for the child. There is not one set rule of thumb about this, simply because it varies according to a number of factors and because the laws in each state may be different.

Paying For Private School

In certain states, parents may be ordered pay private school tuition for children under specific circumstances. Factors that may be considered by the judge to determine if an order to pay private school tuition is appropriate include:

  • Is the child used to private school? If he or she has been attending private school, then it’s expected that child support will help maintain the same standard of living.
  • Are the parents capable of paying private school tuition? The child is entitled to live at the same standard of living as both of the parents, so if one or the other (regardless of whether he or she has custody) is in a financial position to pay for private school, and there is a reason why the child being there would be beneficial, the cost can be ordered covered.

Essentially, it will depend on what specifically is taking place in your child support case. Is your child being pulled from a private school due to money issues? Is your ex trying to get you to pay for something expensive? Does the child want the school but the custodial parent cannot afford it?

Based on these types of details, the judge will discuss the situation with both of you and make a ruling on whether or not private school tuition costs should be built into the amount of child support paid.

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If you are divorcing and a child support order is being created by a judge, it is imperative that you have a lawyer on your side to protect your rights and help you understand what your obligations are likely to be, based on the laws of your state of residence.