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New Jersey Divorce And School Costs

Chances are, long before discussions of separation or divorce began, couples have begun to plan for their child or children's future in terms of schooling. However, once the marriage is over, it is not uncommon for the parents who agreed on schooling previously to now disagree on whether or not private elementary and secondary school is necessary or needed. Once that “discussion” is completed, then college discussions come into play. The state of New Jersey has laws that explain in detail how school costs are divided.

Paying For Private Elementary And Secondary School

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New Jersey law currently states that private school in the elementary years through high school years is what is called an ‘extraordinary expense” in terms of child support guidelines. In essence, this means that for the most part, children are expected to be attending local public schools.

The court will consider what ability the non-custodial parent has to pay, what types of schools both parents attended in childhood and what type of school the child or children are currently attending. They will also consider the religious background of both parents, the court will inquire as to the school choice and what agreement the parents had in regard to private school before they decided to get divorced. Then, they will look at any special needs that the child or children might have and if a private school will meet those needs and they will attempt to determine if private school is in the best interest of the child. Finally, they will look at the divorce documents to see if one parent was given the right to choose the school for the child or children and whether the current enrollment choice is reasonable.

For example, if the non custodial parent was willing to pay for private school before the divorce, they will have to explain why they have now changed their mind. Additionally, if the custodial parent was happy with the local school system before the divorce, it would be considered unreasonable for them to remain local but decide to enroll the child in a highly expensive private school.

Paying For College And Graduate School

This question is not answered as easily. Some court rulings have said that parents have to pay for state, county or community colleges. If parents cannot pay for all of the education, they should attempt to contribute to the tuition payments of all children from the marriage.

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Courts take a certain number of things into consideration when determining how college and graduate school costs will be handled. They will consider whether if the child was still living with the non custodial parent at college age, would the parent have helped pay the tuition. They will also look at whether there is a reasonable expectation that the child or children would want to go to college. They will give careful consideration to how much money the child is looking to receive from each parent for the cost of college and the ability of each parent to meet that cost.

Then they will take into consideration what types of financial aid are available to the child and whether or not the child would be able to earn an income of his or her own during the school year. Finally, they will consider the child or children's relationship to the paying parent. Do they share a good, affectionate relationship and have the children been overall responsive to the parent's advice. This is weighed very heavily. If the child and parent have a seriously damaged or strained relationship, the parent may not be expected to pay for college.

Contact Villani & DeLuca, P.C. To Speak With A New Jersey Child Custody Lawyers

If you do not want a battle on your hand in the long run, it is always best to plan for these situations now. Villani & DeLuca, P.C. can work with you, your spouse and his or her attorney to create a tuition settlement arrangement. We can make certain it is included in any property settlement that is finalized for your divorce. Do not let the future of your child's education become uncertain.

Speak with one of our NJ Child Custody Lawyers who have the experience and skills to assist you in properly allocating the costs of your child's education. Contact our offices today at 732-751-4991to plan ahead!

Vincent DeLuca, Esq.

As a founding partner at Villani & DeLuca, Vincent DeLuca is one of only a few Certified Matrimonial Law Attorney in Ocean County, New Jersey. Mr. DeLuca has helped many clients navigate the delicate details of their own divorce. Mr. DeLuca is also a trained divorce mediator and collaborative divorce attorney. Call today at (732) 751-4991 to speak to Mr. DeLuca or one of our experienced NJ Divorce Lawyers.