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Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court reverses lower courts' child support calculation decision

In In re the Paternity of D.M.Y., et al., M.R. v. B.Y., a 5-page per curiam opinion, the Court writes:

We grant transfer and reverse because the record shows that the party obligated to pay child support has not received credit for a substantial sum of money, $7,025.84, seized from his bank account and later paid to the other party as child support. * * *

On September 4, 2013, the court issued an order finding Father in indirect contempt for his willful failure to pay child support as ordered, finding him to be in arrears in the amount of $13,055 as of July 29, 2013, and authorizing a wage withholding order.

Father appealed, claiming that the trial court erred when determining his arrearage to be $13,055 as of July 29, 2013. Specifically, he argued that the trial court failed to credit him for the January 2012 distribution of $7,025.84 to Mother. In a memorandum [NFP] decision, the Court of Appeals rejected Father’s argument and affirmed the trial court, over Judge Robb’s dissent. In re Paternity of D.M.Y., No. 34A04-1310-JP-504 (Ind. Ct. App. May 15, 2014), vacated. We grant transfer to address Father’s argument. * * *

For an issue covered by the findings of fact, this Court applies a two-tiered standard of review, asking whether the evidence supports the findings and whether the findings support the judgment. Yanoff v. Muncy, 688 N.E.2d 1259, 1262 (Ind. 1997). Here, the trial court found Father to be in arrears in the amount of $13,055 as of July 29, 2013, but its order does not include any subsidiary findings showing how the court reached that figure, and the court’s orders do not mention the amount of $7,025.84. It seems the trial court adopted the figure of $13,055 set out in Mother’s exhibit at the July 31, 2013 hearing.

Our analysis of the evidence is very similar to the analysis in Judge Robb’s dissenting opinion and the calculations provided by Father. * * *

We reverse the trial court’s order and remand for further proceedings, consistent with this opinion, to recalculate Father’s arrearage to provide him credit for the $7,025.84 payment.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on October 1, 2014 12:49 PM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions