Self-employed Tenn. Father Held Earns $14,000 / Mo for Child Support

Tennessee law case summary on income determination for self-employed parents in Tennessee divorce and family law from the Tennessee Court of Appeals.

Norton v. Norton – Tennessee Child Support Case Summary – Income determination for self-employed child support obligors

Note: Although the Tennessee child support guidelines are significantly different today than at the time this case was issued, the discussion regarding income determination is a very helpful example of the types of issues that arise when dealing with self-employed business owners.

Lisa Norton appealed the trial court’s judgment increasing the child support obligation of  Max Norton from $400 per month to $1,200 per month; ordering Mr. Norton to contribute $300 per month to an educational trust fund for the Nortons’ minor child.  In considering Mrs. Norton’s petition to modify child support, the trial court found that Mr. Norton’s financial condition changed very little since 1988 when they agreed to a Marital Dissolution Agreement (MDA).  However, based primarily on Mr. Norton’s agreement to pay more child support, the trial court increased his monthly child support obligation to $1,200.  The Tennessee Court of Appeals vacated the trial court’s decision based on its conclusion that the trial court used the incorrect test for determining whether Mrs. Norton was entitled to the relief sought in her petition for modification. Continue reading