Saturday, December 4, 2010

Private Educational Costs

In today’s world, parents often begin planning for a child’s private educational costs far in advance. If you are the high earner, does California law require you to cover some of (or all of) the costs of private school tuition? If you are the low earner or non-earner, does California law allow you to rely on the other party’s higher income to support the costs of private school tuition?

Private education as a discretionary.

The California Family Code sets forth a mandatory formula for child support that theoretically takes into account each parent’s “circumstances and station in life” and “ability to pay” child support. Educational costs for a child are deemed discretionary rather than mandatory. This requires a party’s counsel to make a convincing argument that the private school tuition should, or should not, be paid.

Length of Attendance: How long has the child been attending the school? Alternatives: Where would the child attend school if he or she did not attend the private institution? Can each parent, or one high-earning parent, pay the tuition and still continue to pay for mandated child support and other expenses he or she may have? As a result, nonessential expenses, like private education, must be eliminated.

Allocation of private educational costs.