Which co-parent must pay for private school?

On Behalf of | Sep 28, 2022 | child custody, child support, Family Law | 0 comments

Even though the Seattle area has some of the country’s best public schools, there are dozens of excellent private academies in and around the city. These private schools are not exactly cheap, however. In fact, according to Private School Review, the average cost of tuition at a private academy in Washington is more than $12,000 per year.

It is not uncommon for co-parents to argue over which one pays for private school expenses. Unfortunately, there is no hard-and-fast rule that resolves these disputes.

The best interests of your kids

Like in other states, judges in Washington have a legal duty to determine what is in the best interests of your kids when awarding custody, assigning child support and resolving other child-related matters.

When it comes to paying for private schooling, a judge is likely to consider several factors to find out what is best for your kids. Among others, these factors include the following:

  • Whether your kids are already in private school
  • Whether your children have special needs that require private schooling
  • Whether your children are members of religious groups that encourage private schooling
  • Whether you and your co-parent have any existing agreements about private schooling
  • Whether you can afford to pay for public school

Your ability to negotiate

Judges throughout Washington tend to defer to the good-faith agreements co-parents negotiate. Therefore, to retain more control over the outcome of your situation, it may be useful to try to resolve your tuition dispute out of court.

Ultimately, if you can, a judge is likely to respect your compromise, provided it does not run counter to your children’s best interests.

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