Family Law Case Review: Child Support Calculation

Case: Duckworth v. Duckworth
by Mike Kohlhaas, Bingham Greenebaum Doll

HELD: On appeal, Mother could not successfully assign error to the trial court’s calculation of child support – because it was based upon a purportedly incorrect income for her – where Mother had introduced no evidence to the trial court as to her income, introduced no child support worksheet of her own, and, thus, the only evidence presented to the trial court as to Mother’s income was the income figure for her appearing on Father’s child support worksheet.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY:
Mother and Father divorced in 2010, and shared custody of their two children. In 2012, Father sought modification of the Decree, including sole custody and a modification of support. After a hearing, the trial court granted Father sole custody, subject to Mother’s supervised parenting time, and ordered Mother to pay child support to Father in the amount of $231 per week. Mother appealed.

In her appeal, Mother challenged only the trial court’s child support calculation. The Court of Appeals reviewed the relevant portions of the Indiana Child Support Guidelines and noted the deference afforded to the trial court in making a determination of child support amount.

Importantly, the Court of Appeals observed that Mother failed to present the trial court with any evidence of her income; thus, asserting error for the income value on Mother used by the trial court is misplaced. The only evidence of Mother’s income in the record was the amount appearing on the support worksheet that Father submitted to the trial court; Mother failed to submit her own. “If Mother disagreed with that amount, the time to challenge its accuracy was at trial, not on appeal.”

The trial court’s child support order was affirmed.

To view the text of this opinion in its entirety, click here: Angela Duckworth v. Christopher R. Duckworth

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While significant efforts are made to ensure an accurate summary and reproduction of each opinion, readers are advised to verify all content and analysis with a traditional case law reporter before relying on the content and analysis offered here.

The Matrimonial Law Group of Bingham Greenebaum Doll, LLP is one of the largest full-service matrimonial and family law practices in the State of Indiana. We represent clients in a wide spectrum of family law matters, including premarital agreements, cohabitation, separation, divorce (especially involving high net worth individuals and/or complex asset issues), custody, parenting arrangements, adoption, and domestic partnerships. Bingham Greenebaum Doll, a multidisciplinary law firm serving regional, national, and international clients, is the fourth-largest law firm in Indiana. The firm’s main practices include corporate, property, litigation, labor, government law, and personal services law. Visit the firm’s website at www.bgdlegal.com.

ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN

2 Responses to “Family Law Case Review: Child Support Calculation”

  1. Charles W. Waid says:

    The above article states that Angela Duckworth went to the Court of Appeals to contest that the child support calculation approved and ordered by the trial court was erroneous because it was based on a fictitious amount of income; simply stated, she did not make or earn as much money as opposition claimed. The simple remedy to this problem would have been not to go to the Court of appeals but rather come right back at Mr. Duckworth in the same trial court with a Petition to Modify Support based on a change of circumstances. The change of circumstances that she should have claimed is that she no longer made or earned the fictitious amount of money ascribed to her. Then provide evidence to her actual earnings at trial court when the time came for a hearing on the new petition for Child Support Modification.

  2. Charles W. Waid says:

    Concerning my other comment, I would also like to point out that the remedy I propose would not fix any retroactive child support that may have been ordered based on an a fictitious amount of Respondent earnings and where the Respondent failed to preserve his or her contentions at trial court as did Angela Duckworth. All my proposed remedy could fix is that one could obtain a new order of support that would effect all future amounts of child support that would have to be paid beginning on the date the new petition was filed.


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