Now that Missouri presumes that physical custody (parenting time) is to be equal, more issues relating to the choice of school, especially public school, are expected to arise.

With private school, it is crucial to remember that in order to have the costs associated with private school included in the Form 14 child support calculation, you must establish that “special or private” school is necessary to meet “the particular educational needs of the child.” This standard, taken from the comments to Form 14, are also a guide to what you should establish to support the public school that you prefer.

In St. Louis, there are stark differences between not only the City public schools and the County public schools, but in some cases, between individual County schools. While some of those differences seem self-evident, failure to provide specific evidence can be fatal to your cause. The Carson Law Firm has been helping parents argue persuasively for one particular public school district or private school for more than 30 years. We can help you too.

In the distant past, the only games in town were limited. The school report cards, compiled by the State and providing basic statistics about student: teacher ratios, MAP scores and racial composition of the student body. Once available from the school, these are now available on-line for free. Then came a company called SchoolMatch. Introduced with much fanfare – including a story in the Wall Street Journal, SchoolMatch provides a report comparing two or more schools on a greater number of data points. The most recent entry in this space is the website

While School Report cards, SchoolMatch and Niche are helpful, when a child has specific educational needs – whether for a specialized curriculum of support or other challenges, a local specialist like Julie Hutchins Koch ( can be of immense help to your case by helping the guardian ad litem (many times when school choice is an issue, there is a GAL) and the judge see the wisdom of your choice. Further, an expert can help overcome the legal evidentiary challenges that come with all three of the above. Those evidence-based challenges may be overcome in many cases by an experienced child custody trial attorney with experience in the place where the case is pending. In custody cases in St. Louis City and St. Louis County, The Carson Law Firm is such a resource.


JHK Educational Advocacy provides a wide range of services including advocacy for parents of minor students or adult students through personal consultation, advocacy at the school setting with teachers and school administration, classroom observations, and court appearances.  Dr. Hutchins ensures all services are documented in writing with specific recommendations.  Other services include one-on-one support for struggling students, classroom support for struggling teachers and professional development services for schools and districts.  Having 30 years of experience in education from kindergarten through college, in private and public settings, in suburban to urban locations, through teaching and administrative roles, Dr. Hutchins promises clients can be sure that they will be getting help with the broadest of all possible perspectives and that will garner respect from any court, school or educational institution.