Teenage girl sues her father for private school fees

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The Independent Online

A teenage girl launched a unique legal battle yesterday to force her father to pay her private school fees.

A teenage girl launched a unique legal battle yesterday to force her father to pay her private school fees.

Nicole Lavelle, 16, wants her father, Callum, to pay for her to change schools so she can be closer to her mother.

Stirling Sheriff Court was told that Nicole was sent to the £12,000-a-year Harrogate Ladies College after her parents were divorced. But now she wants him to pay £6,000-a-year fees so she can move to the sixth form at the King's School in Malvern, Worcestershire, near her mother's new home.

Nicole, who is originally from Dunblane, Stirlingshire, told the court she tried to move to an independent school in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, earlier this year so she could visit her mother Belinda at weekends. But her father, who is vice-president of a computer company, warned her that she would never see him again if she moved nearer her mother. She said: "My dad took me to a restaurant and gave me the ultimatum."

Nicole's parents divorced in 1998, and her mother moved to England, while she continued to live with her father in Dunblane. But he sent her to board at Harrogate because his job was forcing him to spend much of his time abroad.

Nicole said she had re-established her relationship with her mother, and wanted to enrol at the King's School because she could stay with her mother, who lives near the town.

She wants her father to pay the £6,000 fees, or give her a £15,000 lump sum to cover the costs of her education. She said: "My dad's original plan was for me to stay at Harrogate until I finished my sixth form and he would pay for my school fees. I just don't understand why he won't pay my fees at King's."

The case continues.

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