It is not unusual for parents to have disagreements regarding their children’s upbringing after a Tennessee divorce. If there are significant decisions that cannot be resolved, the parties may have to settle their dispute in court. In an August 2, 2017 opinion, the Court of Appeals of Tennessee reviewed a case involving a post-divorce modification of a parenting plan. The mother filed the petition, alleging that the father had preemptively refused to pay their oldest child’s private school tuition and failed to pay for the children’s extracurricular expenses.
The parties in the case were the parents of two daughters at the time of their divorce in 2007. The permanent parenting plan entered into at the time of the divorce stated that the parties would share joint decision-making regarding the children’s educational decisions, extracurricular activities, and religious upbringing. It also stated that the parties would each pay half of the cost of all private school tuition and any other school or extracurricular expenses incurred on behalf of the children, upon which expenses they had mutually agreed in advance.
The mother proposed a modification that would require the private school tuition to be paid pro rata to the income of each party. She also requested that the court designate her as the sole decision-maker for the children. The father contested the change and further averred that the mother had enrolled the older child in a private school over his objection. The mother admitted that she had enrolled the older child at the private high school without the father’s agreement, but she argued that the father had unreasonably withheld approval and that it was in the child’s best interest to attend the school.