TN Father Paid $600 /Mo. Arrearage Then Ordered to Pay Up To 1/2 Pay

Tennessee law case summary on child support arrearage in Tennessee divorce and family law from the Tennessee Court of Appeals. 

Ashley King V Kenneth J Wulff – Tennessee Child Support Arrearage Law

The appeals court took on the case of Ashley King, mother and Kenneth Wulff, father. The two were divorced in October of 1991. The father was required to pay child support of $300 per month through the divorce decree. In addition, the divorce decree required that the father pay half of the necessary and reasonable expenses for the college education of the minor children, which included tuition, room, board, and books until the child reaches the age of 23 or graduates.

In February of 2008, a trial court held a hearing and found that the father owed child support arrearage of $58,000 plus dental and medical expenses, for a total judgment of $77,764.94. The child reached the age of majority in April of 2008. In August of 2008, the trial court required the father to pay $600 per month in child support judgment payments. The trial court also stated that the father was to immediately pay the mother sums due for the child’s college expenses.

In January of 2009, the mother filed a contempt petition that the father willfully failed to pay $600 a month or the college expenses, which totaled $4,725.50 for his half. The court awarded the mother a judgment of $7,325.50. In August of 2009, the trial court declined to find father in contempt on the basis that he was unable to pay. At this point, the father’s arrearages amounted to $76,464.96. The father’s income was to be garnished for $600 per month.

The appeals court was brought in based on the petition filed by the mother in May of 2010 stating that additional expenses in the amount of $7,051 were additionally necessary for further education. She had received $600 per month out of the father’s wages but she stated this did not cover the interest on previous judgments awarded to her. She requested that the court require the father to pay as previously ordered by the court, which was his portion of the amount of educational expenses exclusive of his monthly payment.

In a hearing held on November 2010, the mother provided proof of additional college expenses for the fall 2010 semester. The court ordered a judgment of $10,576.50. The court further ordered that a wage assignment of $1,200 per month or half of his earnings, whichever is less be put in place.

The father filed the appeal. The father claimed, in appeal, that the agreed order entered in April of 2008 set forth a monthly arrearage payment of $600. He stated that due to the principle of res judicata that amount could not be increased. The father believes this freezes the amount to be paid. The father stated that the monthly child support of $300 was in effect until the August 2008 ruling. At which time, the parties agreed to $600 per month.

The appeals court found that the court has the ability to determine how arrearages are paid. As such, it found no support for the father’s position. It rejected his assertion that the trial court erred and affirmed the decision of the lower court.

NO M2011-00300-COA-R3-CV, October 4, 2011.

See original opinion for exact language.  Legal citations omitted.

Memphis divorce attorney, Miles Mason, Sr., JD, CPA, practices family law exclusively with the Miles Mason Family Law Group, PLC. To learn more about Tennessee child support laws, read and view:

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2 thoughts on “TN Father Paid $600 /Mo. Arrearage Then Ordered to Pay Up To 1/2 Pay

  1. Of course they ruled against the father. It is not about the children, it is about the Women and no man wants to rule against a woman who has custody of the children, no matter how the money is used. Judges need to take a look at what is happening in the U.S. because of the powerful women’s groups that men are afraid to stand up to. It is unfortunate that men are placed into poverty while the women live off the children’s money instead of going out to work because they can get more support money if they stay at home. The men pay the FULL support, health insurance, dental insurance, co-pays and deductibles, court costs, filing fees, mediation fees, usually half of rent or mortgage(all if she does not want to pay her half) and on and on! They are expected to come up with money to give extras to the children and when they can’t they are considered cheap. Many live in their cars, in friends or family’s basements. Many eat only oatmeal and just exist. This is the American way for men now!! I am a woman who has seen this happen to many men. The stories out there are horrific but Judges just keep appeasing the women and mess up the children by teaching them not to respect their fathers while mom lies about the support not coming through. I do understand that this is not true in all cases and some women are wonderful but most are not!

    • While I disagree with many of your statements, many share your opinions. Thank you for visiting our site.

      Miles Mason, Sr.
      Attorney, Miles Mason Family Law Group, PLC, Serving clients in Memphis • Germantown • Collierville • West Tennessee. MemphisDivorce.com. We aim to be your best option for finding a Memphis divorce lawyer, Germantown divorce lawyer, or Collierville divorce lawyer.
      The response above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this site is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship with any individual. Answers are provided for informational purposes only. A person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.

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