Pasadena divorce lawyers were not surprised by the news that Michael Lohan, father of actress Lindsay Lohan, found himself in hot water over a failure to pay for his son Cody’s private education at a Catholic school. Ex-wife Dina filed court documents in early May claiming that they had agreed to split the $10,000 per year tuition. The court ordered Michael to pay $3,800 by July or face a warrant for his arrest.
Private school tuition can be added to a divorce agreement after a divorce if both parents agree that this is in the child’s best interests. If only the custodial parent wants the child to attend a private school, the court can choose to list private school tuition as a child support add-on that falls in the same category as certain child care expenses and uninsured medical expenses for the children. The court will consider the following factors when determining if the noncustodial parent should be ordered to help pay for tuition:
- Ability of the noncustodial parent to pay
- The child’s past school attendance
- If the child has special needs, such as a learning disability, that are best served by a private school
- If the school provides religious instruction matching the beliefs of the parents
- Past attendance of the parents at a private school
Keep in mind that the court will only enforce a written order for support. A verbal agreement that your former spouse will help pay for the cost of a child’s private school tuition is not binding in family court.
To protect yourself, arrange to have each of you pay your portion of the tuition directly to the school instead of paying everything upfront and later trying to seek reimbursement from your former spouse.
How Can We Help?
Please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at info@PasadenaLawOffice.com if you are in need of assistance with a child support related issue. Our Pasadena divorce attorneys can discuss your options and help you develop a strategy that best addresses your unique situation.