December 7, 2023

Tennessee youngster assist assortment case abstract.

Susan M. Austin v. Tommy Joe Richmond

Fayette County Courthouse

The kid on this Fayette County, Tennessee, case was born in 1999.  In 2010, the mom was named major residential father or mother.  The kid’s personal college bills had been to be borne by the mom, with the daddy paying $353 per thirty days youngster assist, plus a further $100 per thirty days towards an arrearage of about $10,000.  Funds had been to be made by way of the Texas Legal professional Common’s workplace.

In 2017, the mom filed a petition for contempt, alleging that the kid assist had not been paid as ordered.  She conceded that there had been some funds made on to her, however not by way of the Texas Legal professional Common.  She denied that these funds constituted youngster assist.  Discovery came about, and the daddy despatched a letter to the courtroom detailing the funds.  He included test numbers and financial institution statements.  In 2021, the courtroom appointed a CPA to conduct an accounting and return a report back to the courtroom.  The courtroom, nevertheless, made an order in 2022, with out good thing about the CPA report.  As a substitute, it relied upon the data offered within the  “voluminous pleadings and reveals.”

Finally, the trial courtroom concluded that the daddy had overpaid his youngster assist, and awarded him a judgment for over $27,000, plus virtually $16,000 in lawyer’s charges.  The mom then appealed to the Tennessee Court docket of Appeals.

The mom argued that the trial courtroom had erred in coming into judgment with out conducting an evidentiary listening to.  The Court docket of Appeals agreed.  it first identified that allegations within the pleadings usually are not proof, and information, except stipulated, have to be proved by way of paperwork, affidavits, oral testimony, or different competent proof.  Moreover, witnesses are required to take an oath previous to testifying, and findings of reality should come from the proof.

On this case, there was no sworn testimony or cross examination.  No information had been stipulated to.  The overwhelming majority of the invention responses relied upon by the courtroom weren’t sworn.  And neither social gathering was even conscious that the courtroom deliberate to forego a proper listening to.  For these causes, the appeals courtroom held that the judgment couldn’t stand.

The daddy did argue that the error was innocent, as a result of the trial courtroom ought to have earlier dismissed the mom’s case for failure to prosecute.  The appeals courtroom famous that there have been many delays within the case which had been irritating to the trial courtroom.  However this might not “function an excuse for short-circuiting essentially the most primary rules of our jurisprudence.”  The courtroom additionally famous in a footnote that it was unclear whether or not the delays had been the direct results of the mom’s actions.

For these causes, the Court docket of Appeals vacated the judgment and remanded the case.

No. W2022-00559-COA-R3-JV (Tenn. Ct. App. Aug. 31, 2023)

See unique opinion for precise language.  Authorized citations omitted.

To study extra, see Youngster Help Assortment & Enforcement in Tennessee.

See additionally Tennessee Parenting Plans and Child Support Worksheets: Building a Constructive Future for Your Family that includes precise examples of parenting plans and youngster assist worksheets from actual instances obtainable on