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Tips & Tricks to Effectively Manage Debtors & Fees

Part 2 – Family Separations and Negotiating Schemes of Repayment


Missed Part 1 of this series of articles? Read it now by clicking this link.

Family Separations


It is inevitable that there will be many children within your school community that will either have parents who are separated at the time of enrolment or separate during their schooling.

Importantly, this shouldn’t be an obstacle to the collection of fees and schools should have a consistent, but flexible policy in place to guide you to communicate about fees and respond to requests from families who are separated. Maintaining communication with parents about their obligations is crucial and this is no different for split families.

From the outset, we recommend that you understand:

  • if both parents are to receive communication from the school about school fees;
  • if there are any Family Court orders in place related to payment of school fees;
  • if the parents require split billing;
  • if one parent doesn’t wish for their child’s schooling to continue for financial reasons.

Once understood, but keeping in mind your enrolment terms (discussed in the last newsletter), you will be in a better position to resolve any conflict that may arise in relation to payment of school fees with split families.

Negotiating Schemes of Repayment

A family’s circumstances may change quickly and there will be many occasions when school fees go beyond their due dates. There may be legitimate reasons for this – a death, a change in financial circumstances, a family separation – and there may occasions, when there is no legitimate reason.

Either way, you must be pro-active. Again, there should be a consistent policy to be followed when fees become outstanding by a certain period of time. You can be firm but fair in your approach to understand the reason/s why payment has not been made. Written file notes should be kept of any conversations and then filed accordingly. An email should also then be sent to all parties to reconfirm the contents of any conversation, including the terms of any extensions or variations to the existing payment terms.

Importantly, if you agree to long extensions for payment of school fees, be sure to include the amount to be paid and a fixed date for payment. That way, if payment is still not made, and further negotiations are untenable, you are in a position to refer the account to Platinum Collection Agency.

In the next bulletin, we shall look at Part 3 – Navigating our way through a post-Covid world.


Lynch Meyer Lawyers are school specialists.

If your enrolment documentation is due for a refresh or there are particular terms that you would like to discuss, please phone Alice Carter, Partner on 08 8236 7626.