We’re getting divorced – how will we pay the school fees?
We're getting divorced - how will we pay the school fees?
Amidst the emotional turmoil of separation and divorce, worrying about how any school fees for your children will be met going forward can be a major stress at a time when you just don't need it.
Above all, as parents you will want to spare your children the disruption of having to move school at an already difficult time, but where do you begin when it comes to making sure the often substantial costs can continue to be covered?
What's the best way to ensure that school fees are met after we divorce?
Ideally, you and your ex should agree a plan for who pays the school fees, or how you will pay them between you, as part of your separation or if you are married as part of your divorce settlement and without having to go to court.
If both parents reach agreement about payment of school fees, the agreement can be recorded in a Separation Agreement or in a court order made by consent. A consent order does not require either parent to attend court.
What if we can't agree who pays the school fees?
The court can then be asked to sort out the payment of the school fees. An application can be made for an order in financial remedy proceedings either as part of or after a divorce, or if you aren't married as a financial application under the Children Act 1989.
This can cover not only the fees but things like uniforms, school trips and music lessons. Key to this will be the ability to show that the child is already being privately educated - or if they haven't started school yet, that the plan has always been for this to happen.
The court will consider the child's welfare including whether the child or children concerned would be adversely affected by having to move school.
It is generally held that private education is a luxury which must be balanced against the welfare and financial needs of every member of the family.
This means that the resources of each party and the affordability of the fees will be carefully looked at, taking into account the child support and spousal maintenance payments as well as other financial commitments the payer might have, like a mortgage.
Are school fees included in child maintenance payments?
No. Child maintenance is designed to cover a child's cost of living and not their school fees.
Get in touch
If you need help agreeing who will pay the school fees after your divorce, please contact Wards Solicitors' highly experienced Family Law and Divorce team who can help and advise you.
We have 12 offices across Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Bath and North East Somerset.
Click here to book an initial meeting.