Can Child Support Payments Be Reduced Because of Unpaid School Tuition?

Posted by Joseph Lento | Jun 09, 2024 | 0 Comments

Celebrity entertainer Tyrese Gibson is suing his ex-wife Norma Mitchell Gibson in court to reduce his child support payments by $25,605.50, which he has already paid for his daughter's private school tuition since it wasn't paid by his ex-wife. To ensure he would be repaid, he petitioned the court to reduce his child support by $5,000 a month until the debt was repaid. The documents state that he has agreed to pay all school tuition expenses but proposes to deduct one-half of the payments from child support. 

If you or a loved one is considering a child support modification in Pennsylvania, contact the LLF Law Firm Family Law Team to help you consider all your options under the law. Call the offices today at 888.535.3686  or contact us

Is Non-Payment of Court-Ordered Tuition Grounds for Reduction in Child Support Payments in Pennsylvania? 

In general, child support payments can be modified in Pennsylvania based on a "material and substantial change in circumstances," Finances are not fixed and can change based on a variety of factors. Grounds for a reduction in child support payments by a non-custodial party are possible through a court-ordered modification. Such a modification order is usually based on a drastic change in circumstances, such as job loss or a change in a child's expenses.  

Procedure for Modification of Child Support Payments in Pennsylvania 

A child support order is a standing and final order of the court and can be modified by the court. Under Title 231 section 1910.9,  a modification for "material and substantial change in circumstances" may be brought before the family courts by a petition for modification.  

The Duty of Both Parents To Provide Schooling and Pay For Tuition Expenses 

School tuition, if reasonable, is an established child support duty. Child custody cases in Pennsylvania have shown that, until the age of majority, parents have a legal obligation to provide educational tuition expenses for their children.  

Although it's not common to see modification cases in Pennsylvania specifically dealing with lowering child support based on non-payment of tuition by the custodial parent, there might be grounds for a modification based on the general duty that parents must provide for their child's educational expenses. If one parent neglects that duty, it is likely not in the best interests of the child since tuition payments are established at the time of the court's final child support order.  

Non-payment of those expenses could be considered a material change in the agreed-upon child support amount and may, therefore, be subject to modification. Current income and expenses are factors considered by courts in a modification petition. If one party has incurred debt and did not properly pay for court-ordered tuition payments under the child support order, then the party's non-payment might be a sufficient material change in circumstances.  

These issues are complex and require the skilled assistance of legal professionals to determine grounds for a modification petition. If you or a loved one need help in determining your grounds for modifying a child support order, do not delay. Contact the LLF Family Law Team online or call them at 888-535-3686

About the Author

Joseph Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento is a veteran of one of the nation's busiest family courts with nearly 20 years' experience passionately helping families. By day, he worked in the trenches of family court, and at night, he studied the law. He helped countless families while working at family court, and he went on to become an attorney, dedicating his law practice to continuing the work he started years earlier. Mr. Lento's experience both behind the scenes and on the front lines allows him to understand a client's family law matter from all angles, and allows him to find and employ the most effective strategies to get favorable outcomes for any client. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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The LLF Law Firm has unparalleled experience practicing Family Law in Pennsylvania. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you and your family, contact our offices today. Our Family Law Team will go above and beyond the needs for any client and fight for what is fair.

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