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Child support payments and private school tuition

After North Carolina parents go through a divorce, one often ends up paying child support to the other. A court is much more likely to order a parent to make child support payments if the child lives with the other parent most of the time. Typically, a parent will be required to make basic child support payments that are based on a variety of factors, including monthly income.

If a child of divorced parents has expenses such as private school tuition, a court may order the noncustodial parent to pay more than basic child support. During the divorce process, a court will have to make a decision about whether to factor private school tuition into child support calculations. The decision will be based on whether the child already attends private school or whether the parents had already agreed to send their child to private school.

Some parents will agree to send their child to private school when they are married and then disagree about the schooling choice once they get a divorce. A family court will consider whether a noncustodial parent is objecting to private school simply because they do not want the added child support obligations. On the other hand, if there were no discussions about private school while parents were married, a court is unlikely to award child support for private school tuition.

While the determination of child support is largely based upon state guidelines, courts do have some flexibility in the matter. If a child is currently in private school and has developed bonds and friendships, a court might decide that requiring the non-custodial parent to pay a share of those expenses is in the child’s best interests.