Can you keep your child in a private school after your divorce?

Virginia is home to some of the best private schools in the country, and many parents sacrifice a lot to make sure that their children have a spot in one of the best

What happens to your educational aspirations for your child, however, once you and your spouse split up? 

You can make educational agreements with your co-parent

Frankly, there’s nothing in Virginia’s Child Support Guidelines that takes into account the cost of a private school and all that entails — but there’s also nothing that says that parents can’t make their own agreements about their child’s educational needs, either.

If you and your co-parent see eye-to-eye on the issue, you can divide the cost of your child’s private education between you however you see fit. (Just be careful: Once you commit, you may not find the agreement easy to change, even if you later come to regret the expense.)

You can seek a deviation from the presumptive child support amount

Generally, child support is calculated according to certain presumptions and formulas based on how much custody each parent enjoys with their child and each parent’s relative means. 

However, Virginia Code §20-108(B) permits rebuttal arguments that challenge the presumptive amount of support a child is due. If you believe that your child should remain in a private school after your divorce, you may ask the court to deviate from the standard support.

The court will likely consider several different things in evaluating your request, such as:

  • The reason you feel that your child needs to remain in a private school, whether that’s to address some special needs or special gifts or simply because there are no good public schools nearby
  • How well-adapted your child is to their current school, and what effect it would have on them psychologically and socially if they have to change schools
  • Your co-parent’s ability to afford the private school tuition and other costs

It’s difficult to address all of the changes that a divorce will bring to your family without experienced guidance, so don’t hesitate to protect your family’s interests throughout this process.



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