In Dyke v. Scopetti, 2015 VT 53 (April 3, 2015), the Vermont Supreme Court enforced a Pennsylvania child support order that required a father to pay for his daughters’ college tuition.
Issue: Plaintiff appealed an order enforcing a Pennsylvania child-support order, which required plaintiff to pay college tuition at “an institution acceptable to [plaintiff].”
Holding: Affirmed. The Vermont Supreme Court held that Pennsylvania courts enforce these provisions and are reluctant to require prior consultation absent an explicit requirement in the order. It held that the child support order was not illusory or unenforceably indefinite, and that there was an implied condition that plaintiff will not unreasonably withhold his acceptance. It found that Plaintiff’s suggested $10,000 per year cap was unreasonable because: 1) plaintiff makes $350,000-$400,000 per year; 2) he pays more than $10,000 each month for his horses veterinary bills; and 3) his daughters have chosen practical educations that will enable them to be employed immediately upon graduation. It held that his daughters’ choices for college, with one exception, were reasonable, despite lower cost alternatives. It also held that the daughters should receive the benefits of grants and scholarships before any excess grants and scholarships are applied as a credit towards plaintiff’s obligation.