Including Bonuses for Child Support Awards in Tennessee Child Support

Including or Excluding Bonuses for Child Support Awards in Tennessee Child Support

Simmons v. Simmons – Tennessee Court of Appeals case summary on income determination for child support.

Including or Excluding Bonuses for Child Support Awards in Tennessee Child Support

Including or Excluding Bonuses for Child Support Awards in Tennessee Child Support

Allison Lyn Simmons and Richard Lee Simmons were married for seven years and had three children together.  The children were six, five, and two years old at the time of the divorce hearing.  The Father and Mother previously both worked as flight attendants when they were married, but the Father was the sole provider since the first year of marriage.  During the marriage the parents went deeply into debt, in part due to the Mother’s spending, and filed for bankruptcy. Continue reading

How many years’ salary should be averaged for child support in TN?

How many years of salary should be averaged to determine parent’s salary for child support purposes in Tennessee?

DAVID L. ADAMS v. NANCY W. ADAMS – Tennessee Child Support Case Summary

How many years of salary should be averaged to determine parent's salary for child support purposes in Tennessee?

How many years of salary should be averaged to determine parent’s salary for child support purposes in Tennessee?

In 1994, Daniel L. Adams (“Father”) sued his wife, Nancy W. Adams (“Mother”) of 12 years for divorce.   Their two children were aged ten and eight years old at the time the divorce request was filed.  The Mother has a high school diploma and at the time of the divorce worked as a teacher’s aide in the local middle school and as the music director for a church.  In 1994, she earned $7,950.  The Father is a lawyer and a sole practitioner since 1988.  From 1988 through 1992, the Father’s income varied between $30,000 to $97,000.  In 1994, his income was $134,300.The couple was divorced on September 25, 1995.  The trial court found that the Father’s  gross monthly income was $4,600 and using this figure, awarded child support in the amount of $ 1,060 per month for both children.   In addition, the trial court ordered the Father to provide medical insurance for the children and to pay any medical costs not covered by insurance.The Mother filed an appeal asking that the child support be increased.  The Mother did not argue that there was a change in circumstances but rather that the trial court made a mistake in setting support at $1,060 based on a calculation of the Father’s gross income at $4,600.   The appellate court found that the trial judge used the income figures for 1992 ($55,824) and 1993 ($52,008) to determine the Father’s income.    The appellate court, however, held that the trial court could have come to a more realistic income figure by averaging the Father’s income over the last five years, including 1995 (no figures are provided for 1995).

The appellate court sent the issue of child support back to the trial court, and asked the trial court to determine the amount of child support using an average of the Father’s net income over the past five years, including 1995. The court was asked to calculate the Father’s  net income according to Rule 1240-2-4-.03 of the Child Support Guidelines, entitled “The Income Shares Model.”

The Tennessee Child Support Guidelines, using the Income Shares Model,  take into account both parents’ income and the needs of the child or children.  Each child’s basic needs – food, housing, transportation, clothing and entertainment – are calculated on a monthly basis.  Gross income is then calculated for each parent.  Gross income is based on many sources of income, including, but not limited to, wages, salaries, bonuses, commissions, overtime, severance payments, interest, dividends, net capital gains, worker’s compensation, disability, prizes and lotteries, just to name a few.  Once the parent’s gross income is determined, deductions may be made based on various types of “credits,” such as self-employment tax, for self-employed parents.  In general, the amount of child support needed is divided by the AGI of each parent, determining the share each parent has to pay monthly.

No. 01-A-01-9606-CH-00281, Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Middle Section, at Nashville, January 8, 1997.

See original opinion for exact language.  Legal citations omitted.

For more information, see Averaging Income in Tennessee Child Support Law and Tennessee Child Support Answers to FAQ’s.  For legal updates, news, analysis, and commentary, visit our Tennessee Family Law Blog and its Child Support category.  A Memphis child support attorney from the Miles Mason Family Law Group can help you with Tennessee child support issues including setting or modifying child support. To schedule your confidential consultation about Tennessee child support, call us today at (901) 683-1850.

Tennessee Father’s Income for Child Support Can Include Stock Sales

Tennessee child support law in Tennessee divorce & family law from the Tennessee Court of Appeals.

Alexander v. Alexander – Calculating Gross Income for Tennessee Child Support

This decision breaks down into clear categories a number of sources of income and expenses which may be considered for purposes of child support.

Donald James Alexander (the Father) and Carolyn Paxton Morrow (the Mother) were   married for 12.5 years and had two children, who were 11 and 10 at the time of the divorce decree in February 1995.   The Father was ordered to pay $2,194 per month in child support in 1995.   In 1997, the Mother filed for an increase in child support, claiming that there was a significant variance, according to the Tennessee Child Support Guidelines,  in the Father’s income to require an increase in child support.   According to Tennessee law, a modification may be made to the amount a non-custodial parent has to pay if there has been at least a 15% change in that individual’s gross income. Continue reading

Father’s Bonuses Should Be Averaged in Tennessee Child Support Law

Tennessee child support law on income determination (bonuses and commissions) in Tennessee family law from the Tennessee Court of Appeals.

Burnett v. Burnett – Calculating Bonuses and Commissions for Tennessee Child Support Awards

The Father, David Mark Burnett, an account manager with Fedex, and the Mother, Analiza Palatones, were married in 1999.  The couple had three children.  In 2003, the Mother filed for divorce.  At the time of the first trial, the Mother, 36 years old, had a high school degree and worked part-time as a waitress and part-time with Northwest Airlines, escorting unaccompanied minors.  In these two jobs, over a two week period, the Mother earned approximately $200.  The Father was 45 years old at the time of the trial and had been working for Fedex for sixteen years.  His monthly net base salary was $4,829 plus quarterly bonuses, which changed significantly from year to year.  In 2005, Husband earned  a yearly salary plus bonuses totaling $120,213.38.   In 2006, the Father’s FedEx earnings statement through October 14, 2006 showed gross earnings of $111,812.80, consisting of base salary plus bonuses. The Father’s affidavit showed his bonuses for 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006 were $7,389, $20,810, $36,810, and $43,402, respectively. Continue reading

TN Father Sought Child Support Reduction Gets Increase $400 Per Month

Tennessee child support modification law in Tennessee family law from the Tennessee Court of Appeals.

Tennessee Father Who Sought Child Support Reduction Gets an Increase of about $400 Per Month Due to Large Cash Deposits into Father’s Bank Account Imputed as Income

Parris vs. Parris – Modifying Tennessee Child Support + Income Determination

The Father, Jerral D. Parris, was obligated by a 2003 decree of divorce to pay $1,250 per month in child support to the mother, Irina N. Parris, for the Parties’ two children. The decree included a “Permanent Parenting Plan.”

The Father filed a motion to request a downward modification of his child support obligation in 2005. A hearing was conducted in 2006, including testimony from six witnesses.

The Mother worked as a teacher’s assistant, earning gross wages of $715 per month, or, $8,266.56 per year. The Mother also supplemented her income by maintaining and renting six homes, taking in $100,004.52, less expenses of $16,354 in 2005. She also earned money helping prepare tax returns. The Mother provided her W2 and Form 1099 statements for 2005. Continue reading

Tenn. Trial Lawyer Father’s Child Support Income Based on Disability

Tennessee child support law in Tennessee family law from the Tennessee Court of Appeals.

Turner v. Turner – Child Support Income Determination for Disabled Trial Lawyer

Ginger and Robert Turner, Jr. were married in 1980.  Mr. Turner was a trial lawyer, and Ms. Turner was a college graduate who had worked for several Nashville companies.  After getting married, Ms. Turner worked in Mr. Turner’s law office until their first child was born in June 1985. Their second child was born in February 1988.

The court of appeals described the marriage as troubled from the beginning.  Mrs. Turner left Mr. Turner for three periods during the marriage.  Subsequently in April 1991, she and the children left home and moved into a domestic violence shelter.  One week later, she filed a complaint for separate maintenance and also sought and obtained a temporary restraining order to prevent Mr. Turner from harassing or threatening her or interfering with her custody of the children.  Mr. Turner was hospitalized and treated for severe depression and other problems. The parties attempted to reconcile after Mr. Turner returned to Nashville, but five weeks later, Ms. Turner and the children moved into a one bedroom apartment attached to her parents’ home. Continue reading

In TN Child Support Retained Earnings Must Be Manipulated to Be Income

Tennessee law case summary on income determination. Absent a showing that the retained earnings were excessive or that an obligor was actually manipulating his or her income, the retained earnings of an S corporation should not be imputed as income to the sole or majority shareholder in calculating a child support obligation. Tennessee child support law from the Tennessee Court of Appeals.

Taylor v. Fezell – Tennessee child support case summary on retained earnings as income.

Douglas Fezell and Angela Daniels were married in 1986, and had two children. The couple divorced in 1999.  In their Marital Dissolution Agreement (MDA), Mrs. Fezell was designated as the primary residential custodian of the two minor children. The MDA also provided that Mr. Fezell was to have visitation time greater than the standard amount contemplated by the Tennessee Child Support Guidelines (guidelines).  In consideration of Mr. Fezell’s additional visitation and the establishment of a trust fund for the children, the parties agreed that Mr. Fezell would pay child support in the amount of $1,000 per month until July 31, 1999; after that it would increase to $1,300.  The MDA also provided a method to calculate Mr. Fezell’s contribution to the trust.

Mr. Fezell’s child support obligation was based, in part, on his income from Professional Vending Services (PVS).  At the time of the divorce, Mr. and Mrs. Fezell were the sole shareholders of the company, each owning a 50% interest.  The Fezells agreed in the MDA that Mr. Fezell would continue to run PVS as the sole shareholder and president, and that he would pay his ex-wife $310,000 in exchange for her half of the company.  Mr. Fezell completed the purchase of this stock and was the sole shareholder of the corporation at the time of the appeal to the Tennessee Supreme Court. Continue reading