|“We never discussed who was to pay for our children’s schooling during our divorce but now that my son is about to go to university we need an opinion as to who’s suppose to pay?”
When dealing with child support issues in a Florida divorce case, it’s important to remember that child support is dictated by state guidelines and will be determined primarily by two factors:
When negotiating for alimony and child support payments in a divorce, it’s important to consider the fact that the non-working parent may end up getting little child support if they are receiving significant alimony payments. In addition, it’s very likely that expenses incurred by the children, such as private school, camp, orthodontia, and extra-curricular activity fees, would need to be shared equally by both parents. This often means that both parents will have to agree to major expenses, or one parent may end up shouldering the burden. For example, a court would rarely issue an award that requires a parent to pay for private school tuition for their children. If you find yourself in a situation where you want your child to go to a private school and your spouse is not in agreement, you need to decide if you are willing to absorb the expense by yourself. The same is often true for summer camps or extra-curricular activities. The cost of many camps can be thousands of dollars, and if you are faced with an ex-spouse who does not want to be supportive or cooperative, you will need to decide if it is within your budget to provide these opportunities to your children.
All of these issues should be considered in advance and factored in when you negotiate your child support and alimony settlements in mediation or as you and your attorney prepare for trial. If you can come to terms and reach an agreement that provides for your children to maintain the type of life they had before the divorce, it can often be more productive and conducive for them than if you need to go to court. You can add these agreed upon conditions to your marital settlement agreement prior to going to court.
Provisions can be included in a marital settlement agreement that require one spouse to cover private school tuition and/or extracurricular expenses, or that each spouse shares equally or ratably for all of these expenses. It is easier and more effective to negotiate these items in a private manner rather than inside a courtroom as part of the divorce proceedings. If it is important to you for your child to benefit fully from the opportunities that you and your spouse can provide, it’s very important that you reach an agreement before the case comes to trial.
Cary Stamp is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™, Cary specializes in helping women make empowering choices before and after a divorce. He has a broad depth of experience in divorce litigation support, investment management, tax strategies and estate planning.