What is Included in Child Support Payments?
In a previous post, we discussed who bears responsibility for your child’s college education costs. In this blog entry, let’s turn back the clock and explore the scenario of who has to cough up the dough for the little rugrat’s education if they have yet to fly the coop. If you’re a South Florida parent, the probability that your kids attend a school that starts with “Saint” or ends with “Prep”/ “Academy” is pretty high. And, with all of the weight Florida courts place on making sure disruption to the minor child’s life is kept to a minimum, you probably haven’t put any thought into where your baby Einstein will deliver his or her Valedictorian speech in a few years. Unfortunately, like most everything that you have become accustomed to in your married life, the pleated skirt and collared shirt are also up for debate.
Child Support Florida Considers
Many times, a party lumps education costs for their minor child into the “something I never have to worry about because my spouse would never go there” category with things like their prized Garbage Pail Kids collection. While that sort of optimism is charming, it isn’t much comfort when the court orders that Vericose Wayne, Leaky Lindsay and Corroded Carl be turned over to their former “Boo” within 72 hours. Like most things in life, when facing a divorce, preparation in dealing with education costs is key. In fact, payment of private school expenses may not be ordered as child support unless the petition or counter-petition contains a specific request for payment. Even then, the Court requires certain findings such as the ability of the parties to finance such an expense and that the child’s attendance at the private school is in his or her best interest. With these hurdles lying mostly in the Judge’s discretion, securing these education costs can be more difficult than one may think.
Do yourself a favor and find a family lawyer who will work hard to protect you and your children by ensuring all the i’s are dotted and the t’s crossed (sorry, couldn’t resist a grade school reference). Whether the apple of your eye would truly flourish in a Prep school environment or you believe your ex is merely using it as an excuse to bleed you dry, you need someone to protect your interests as far as child support is concerned.