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Advice re schooling & fees

Sorry guys, I need your advice again

As said before , I have 50/50 shared parenting plan over my 14 yo daughter. Valid since 1999.

After nearly 2 yrs of going to one high school (state) that the ex wife & I agreed on (oh BTW the ex got to choose the primary school & the deal was that I got to choose the high school, only verbal though) the ex now says that she wants to send my daughter to a private school & expects me/us to pay 1/2 of the fees.

That might be OK , i f I thought that it would do any good or even that we could afford it, but fact is I dont think its a good move & we certainly cant afford it.

So what are the options here: Our parenting order says that would have joint responsibilty for major life events like schooling etc. & that we would share costs, however can the ex go ahead & enrol her (without my permission) & then expect us to pay 1/2 of the costs, can she then complain to CSA that I am not paying & they then increase my exisiting liability?? > I said to her that if she wants to change schools then she has to bear the cost fully.

Advice anyone??
          with regard to Child Support, if you do not agree to private schooling, then there is no onus on you to have to pay anything in regard to the school fees, that is unless the other parent can show that this was an expectation of both parents, or that there is a need for the child to attend the school. Here's what the CSA Guide says :-

CSA Guide - 2.6.9: Reason 3 High costs of caring for, educating or training the child in the manner expected by the parents (extract) said

Is the child being cared for, educated or trained in a manner expected by his or her parents?

The most common application for this reason involves the payment of private school fees and whether the child is being educated in a manner expected by the parents. However, this reason can apply to education and/or training outside the school environment.

In cases involving school fees CSA will generally determine whether both parents agreed to the child being educated in the way outlined in the application. CSA will also consider the financial situation of both parents. The fact that a payer can afford to pay the fees, or is a wealthy person, is not in itself a reason for imposing a liability to contribute to school fees (Mee v Ferguson (1986) FLC 91-716).

Where a parent agreed to the child attending a private school they will be liable to contribute to the fees to the extent that they have the financial capacity. Where a parent has not agreed to the child attending a private school they will not be liable to contribute to the fees unless there are reasons relating to the child's welfare that mean that the child should attend a private school (and the costs would then relate to the child's special needs - see reason 2).

In deciding whether the reason is established CSA will consider the type of education intended by both parents for the child, rather than any particular school intended by the parents (Wild v Ballard (1997) FLC 92-771).

CSA will also consider the circumstances at the time of separation. If the child was attending a particular school, or was participating in a particular extra curricular activity, then this element will usually be established. If not, evidence of the parents' expectation would need to be provided, e.g. the payment of fees. The parents' expectation can be created at any time, not just during the period that the parents lived together.

The other parent may be able to try to take the matter to court, however if she did you would then have the chance to put across your side and part of that could be a willingness of the other parent to not abide by the parenting orders and also put forward an inability to afford such fees. Perhaps the SRL's could provide what they would think the outcome of such an action would be. I would suggest that the scales would be tipped towards maintaining what is.
Thanks Mike T for that information, my situation is opposite, where just 12 months after the financial settlement has been made with one of the conditions (a court order) is that the children remain at private school with both parents paying 50%. The other party says as they cannot afford it any more the children have to go a public school, where there have already been enrolled.
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