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Are school fees included in child maintenance payments?

A common issue between parents when resolving their financial matters on divorce is whether school fees are included in child maintenance payments. Ideally, this is an issue which would be voluntarily agreed between the parties.

If an agreement cannot be reached as to school fees, it may be necessary to make an application to the court for payment of, or contribution towards, school fees. In order for this application to be successful, the applicant will generally need to establish that the child is already being privately educated or that there is an agreement between the parties that the child would be privately educated. If other children of the family are being or have been privately educated, then it arguable that the child should be treated in the same way as their siblings.

In most cases, the payment of school fees is separate to that of child maintenance payments. The court has been keen to keep child maintenance payments and school quite distinct and confirmed the payment of child maintenance is designed to cover the child’s costs of living and not their school fees.

If a child attends a fee paying school or a parent wants to enrol a child at a private school, the options are either that the school fees are paid on a voluntary basis by the separated parent; or an application is made to court for a school fees order.

The school fees order will not necessarily cover the full amount of the school fees. A parent could be ordered to pay all  the fees, or to contribute towards the school fees. The court will decide how much a parent should pay toward school fees based on both parents’ respective incomes and reasonable outgoings. The court will look at the affordability of school fees, taking into account the child support and any spousal maintenance payments that are due, as well as the payer’s other financial commitments such as their mortgage payments.

Get in Touch

If you would like further information on this article or to find out your options, please contact our Family Solicitors, Aadil Khan or Paul Wild, on 0118 9589711 or email [email protected]. Aadil and Paul offer a one-hour confidential fixed fee meeting at our Reading office for £95.00 including VAT.

Further Reading:

Parental Alienation – what is it and how you can you identify it?

Charity law is changing… for the better!

We welcome Lawyer Aadil Khan to our Family Team!

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CategoryFamily Law

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