Will I be forced to pay for my child’s private school tuition?

May 28, 2024 | By Michelle L. Ringel

Depending on the circumstances, you and your co-parent may have already contemplated whether your child will attend private school in the future and incorporated this decision in a Marital Settlement Agreement or Court Order. However, if this was not previously addressed, it is important to understand the New Jersey child support guidelines do not automatically impose contribution of private school tuition on both parents. Instead, private school tuition is considered a “luxury expense.”

Assuming you and your co-parent share joint legal custody, both parents have an equal say in the child’s education. If an agreement cannot be amicably reached regarding a child’s future enrollment in private school, the requesting party will be required to file a motion with the Court on this issue.

The Court will analyze the following factors when determining if a child should attend private school, and whether both parents should contribute to private school tuition:

  1. Each parent’s ability to pay;
  2. If it is in the child’s best interest to attend private school;
  3. The quality of the public schools in the area;
  4. The child’s educational history to date (if applicable);
  5. If the child previously attended a private school;
  6. If the private school affords a child with special needs or gifts superior educational opportunities;
  7. If the child has been raised under a specific religious faith;
  8. If other children in the family attend or attended private school; and
  9. If there is a private agreement between the parties regarding enrollment in private school and/or payment for the child’s tuition.

If private school was not specifically addressed in your Marital Settlement Agreement or Court Order, and you now wish to enroll your child, please reach out to us.  This is a complex issue, and it is important you work with a skilled attorney who can help you strategize the best approach to addressing this with your co-parent and if necessary, the Court.

The information contained in this publication should not be construed as legal advice, is not a substitute for legal counsel, and should not be relied on as such. For legal advice or answers to specific questions, please contact one of our attorneys. 

About the Authors

Michelle Ringel - Mount Laurel family law mediation

Michelle L. Ringel


Mount Laurel Family Law Mediation Michelle focuses her practice on all aspects of family law including but not limited to family law mediation, divorce, equitable distribution, child support, alimony/spousal support, premarital agreements,...

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