When Virginia parents go through a divorce, the non-custodial parent will often be ordered by the court to pay child support to the custodial parent. Although Virginia has established guidelines that calculate an amount bases upon certain listed factors, courts have some discretion in this regard, and in some cases a share of private school tuition might be added to the basic award.
The issue of private education and child support often depends on the family’s lifestyle before the divorce. Parents may have been able to afford private tuition while working together, or parents may have religious beliefs that necessitate private schooling. If the children had been attending private school before the divorce, then the non-custodial parent may be ordered to continue to help pay for the tuition payments for that school. This is done in order for the children to have as much continuity in their lives as possible.
If the child is not yet of school age, but the parents prior to their divorce had agreed that private schooling was important, then the decision becomes a bit more difficult. Courts will take into account the circumstances of those prior discussions and how long ago they took place, for example.
Child support and child custody are often the most contentious part of the process when parents of young children end their marriage. In some cases, these issues can be resolved through mediation, while in other cases, the respective family law attorneys can assist their clients in negotiating an agreement that both may be happier with than if a judge made the decision.