Murphy v. McDermott

979 A.2d 373 (2009)

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Murphy v. McDermott

Pennsylvania Superior Court
979 A.2d 373 (2009)

Facts

James McDermott (defendant) and Colleen Murphy (plaintiff) were unmarried parents of a child. Murphy sought and was awarded child support. Later, Murphy enrolled the child in private preschool, and McDermott, though he disagreed with the decision to enroll the child in private school, voluntarily paid a great share of the child’s tuition. The next year, Murphy enrolled the child in the private school’s prekindergarten program. McDermott disagreed with the decision and did not pay anything towards tuition until a trial court ordered interim payments. When the matter came before the court, Murphy testified that she was planning to enroll the child in the private school’s kindergarten program because of the quality of the program and because the child had been with the same children for two years. Evidence showed that the child had been happy during his time at the school. McDermott testified that it was his opinion that public schools had more to offer than private schools and that after consulting with his friends who taught in public schools, McDermott concluded that public school was a better choice, for philosophical, not financial, reasons. The special master found that McDermott could easily pay for a portion of the tuition and recommended a $100 increase above the amount of the interim order. McDermott appealed, arguing that there was no evidence that private school would benefit the child more than public school.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Lally-Green, J.)

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