Is Private School Tuition an Extraordinary Educational Expense in Tennessee Child Support Law?
Barnett v. Barnett – Supreme Court of Tennessee decides private school tuition can be awarded as child support.
Paula Lynn Barnett (the Mother) and Robert McAlister Barnett, III (the Father) were divorced in 1986 after a fourteen-year marriage. At the time of the divorce, the parties’ son, Joshua, was three years old and their daughter, Katie, was an infant. The divorce decree required the Father to pay $2,167 per month in child support for both children. In March, 1996, Ms. Barnett filed a petition to modify the child support award. Based on the Father’s gross income of $209,206, the trial court set child support at $3,700 per month but ordered the Mother to pay private school tuition from that support award. The trial court found that the son’s tuition at a private school, was an extraordinary educational expense but ruled that the tuition be paid by the Mother from the $3,000 monthly child support. Continue reading