Monday, November 25, 2013

Bayliss v. Bayliss case brief

Bayliss v. Bayliss case brief summary
550 So. 2d 986 (Ala. 1989)

Appellant ex-wife filed a petition to modify a final judgment of divorce so that appellee ex-husband would have to continue paying child support for the completion of their 19-year-old son's college education. The trial court denied the petition and the Court of Civil Appeals (Alabama) affirmed the trial court's decision. The ex-wife filed a petition for writ of certiorari.

The ex-wife's petition claimed that the son would not able to complete his college education without continued support from the ex-husband and petitioned for a modification of their divorce decree. The intermediate appellate court affirmed the trial court's denial of the petition in reliance on precedent declaring that the legal obligation to educate an adult child beyond the age of majority only applied where the child was either physically or mentally disabled or where there was an agreement. The child was not disabled.


  • On appeal, the court held that the duty to pay child support included the duty to pay for a college education beyond the legislatively prescribed age of majority, which was 18 years of age. 
  • In so holding, the court expanded the former exception to the general rule that the duty to contribute to the support and education ended when the child reached the age of majority. 
  • Cases conflicting with the court's holding were specifically overruled.
The denial of the petition to modify was reversed and remanded.

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