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Divorcing parents and private school tuition

Arizona parents who are ending their marriage might wonder whether they will be able to afford various extras for their child such as a private school. Sometimes, the parent who is paying child support may also be required to pay for all or part of the child's private school tuition, but this is only under certain circumstances.

One consideration will be whether the child was already attending private school at the time of the divorce. If this is the case, it is more likely that the noncustodial parent will be asked to contribute toward this expense. If the parents discussed a private school and agreed to send the child to one, this might also result in the noncustodial parent being assigned this as an obligation.

However, courts look carefully at the context of these discussions. For example, in one case, parents had discussed a private school while the child was still an infant, and the child was not yet old enough for school when the parents divorced. As a result, the court ruled that the noncustodial parent was not required to pay. A court came to the same conclusion because of the timing of a conversation parents had about the merits of public and private education in relation to a parenting plan agreement they signed.

Issues around child support and other costs, such as medical insurance, can be contentious in a divorce. A parent might want the best for their child but still struggle to meet support demands, or a parent might feel that the other parent is not putting the child's interests first. If parents can work out their differences outside of court through an agreement negotiated with the help of their respective attorneys, they may be happier with the outcome, and this may be better for the child as well.

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