Both arrangements for children and financial matters can lead to intense emotional disagreements during a Colorado divorce. Sometimes, plans for the children can affect both financial and parenting matters. For example, perhaps the family has enrolled the children in private school as an investment in their education. Private schools can provide a higher standard of education, give a child a more competitive chance at getting into the best colleges and help them network with others who are similarly success focused. However, the cost to send children to private school can be prohibitive, as tuition in Colorado averages over $12,000 per student per year.
Who typically covers the cost of private school tuition when parents with children divorce or separate in Colorado?
Tuition can influence support requirements
Sometimes, parents already have a marital agreement with each other that clarifies who will cover certain expenses if they were to divorce. If one parent has already committed to covering the children’s educational costs after the end of a marriage, then there are likely few questions about how to handle those financial decisions.
If there isn’t already an agreement in place, then private tuition may be part of the divorce negotiations between the parents. Especially if one parent feels more strongly about the importance of private schools than the other, they may agree to cover some or all of the tuition costs to ensure the children stay at the same school.
In a scenario where the family litigates a contested divorce and a judge decides what happens with parental responsibilities, including child support, the cost of current private school tuition might factor into how much support a judge believes is necessary. If one parent chooses without the consent or pre-approval of the other to enroll the children in a private school after the divorce, those new expenses may not have much bearing on what the courts believe the child support amount should be.
Unfortunately, while people would prefer to have black-and-white answers to questions about financial obligations, such as private school tuition, family law situations typically require interpretation and analysis, and each scenario has a different likely outcome based on the family’s unique circumstances.
Identifying unique challenges, like private school tuition, that can complicate family law matters – and seeking legal guidance accordingly – may benefit those who are preparing for an upcoming Colorado divorce.