Costs of Private School in Child Support Determinations - Charlotte NC Family Law & Divorce Blog | Hatcher Law Group

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Costs of Private School in Child Support Determinations

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J. Gregory Hatcher | Child Support Lawyer


In North Carolina, a family court can consider the cost of a private school education for a minor child as part of the child support obligation of the parties. However, there is no absolute right to payment of private school tuition costs and related expenses as part of a child support determination. 

The law in this area continues to evolve and change. When child support is calculated using the presumptive North Carolina Child Support Guidelines, a family law attorney must examine whether the private school tuition could be considered an extraordinary expense for purposes of the calculation. As such, the party must convince a judge that the need of the child can only be met through the educational services provided for a fee via tuition. In some situations, the family law attorney looks to the circumstances surrounding prior educational decisions as well as any diagnosis or educational assessments of the child in question. 

When seeking child support determination through a deviation from the presumptive child support guidelines, some of the same burdens of proof must be met. One party must show the judge that a private school education meets the specific need(s) of a child that cannot otherwise be met in a public school. A family law attorney must prove that the child has some type of mental or physical illness or a significant learning disability which can only be addressed through the resources provided at a private school institution.  In some circumstances, it is helpful to show that during their marriage, or prior to litigation, the parents typically sent their child or children to private school.

Greg Hatcher is a child support lawyer in Charlotte, NC. 

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