When going through a divorce, many parties experience a new level of financial hardship due to the fact that they are now paying for two households and incurring legal expenses. It is important for parties to discuss which expenses they will continue to incur and whether or not their finances will allow them to pay for everything. A common concern among my clients involves tuition for their children’s private school education. While married, the parties may have agreed to send their children to private school, but the economic strain of paying for two households, legal fees, and private tuition may be too much while going through a divorce.
The Maryland Family Law statute, 12-204(i) addresses this concern and provides that, by agreement of the parties or by order of the court, any expenses for attending a special or private elementary or secondary school to meet the particular educational needs of a child may be divided between the parents in proportion to their adjusted actual incomes.
But what happens if your child doesn’t have a particular educational need to attend a private school? What if the parties chose to send their child to private school because they felt their child would receive a better education than in public school?
Determining Whether Private School Is in the Child’s Best Interest
There are six factors a court must consider when determining whether attending or remaining in a special or private school is in the child’s best interest. This includes:
- The child’s educational history;
- The child’s performance while in private school;
- Family history of private versus public school;
- When the parents chose private school;
- Any factor impacting the child’s best interest; and
- The parents’ ability to pay for the schooling.
If you and your spouse cannot agree on whether or not to continue to incur the cost of tuition for a private education, it is essential to speak with your attorney and strategize how to best address this concern during your divorce proceedings.
Going Through a Divorce in Maryland?
If you are going through a divorce in the Montgomery County, Maryland area, or have questions regarding the divorce process and some of the issues you may encounter, please contact attorney Amanda Vann at 301-563-6685.