Sunday, December 8, 2013

Curtis v. Kline case brief

Curtis v. Kline case brief summary
666 A.2d 265 (1995)

Appellant public welfare department challenged a decision from the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County (Pennsylvania) that granted appellee father's petition to terminate his child support obligation for his college age children. The court also held that 23 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 4327(a) was unconstitutional.

Appellee father was ordered to pay child support for his three children. Two of the children began attending college, so appellee filed a petition to terminate his support obligation as to those two children. The trial court granted appellee's petition because it found that 23 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 4327(a), which required a divorced parent to provide college educational support, was unconstitutional. Appellant public welfare department intervened contending that such statute did not violate equal protection principles.

  • On appeal, the court affirmed the decision. 
  • Section 4327(a) violated equal protection principles because it treated the children of divorced parents and married parents unequally. 
  • Under the statute, divorced parents were obligated to pay the educational costs of their children after the children reached age 18. 
  • Married parents had no such obligation. 
  • There was no legitimate state reason for treating children of divorced parents differently than children of married parents.
The court affirmed the decision terminating appellee father's child support obligation and the finding that the educational support statute was unconstitutional. The statute violated equal protection principles by treating the children of divorced parents and the children of married parents differently when there was no legitimate reason for such distinction.

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