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Judges rule on 'contentious' child support dispute, again

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For the second time, a “contentious” child support dispute has come before the Indiana Court of Appeals. The judges upheld most of the obligations imposed on the father but ordered the trial court to use a different income allocation factor regarding certain bonuses.

In Matthew Banks Ashworth v. Kathryn (Ashworth) Ehrgott, 49A02-1205-DR-412, Matthew Ashworth appealed the order on modification of child support entered in favor of his ex-wife Kathryn Ehrgott. Ashworth contended that the trial court abused its discretion in calculating his 2012 and subsequent child support obligation and income withholding order; in determining his additional child support obligation based on his 2010-2012 bonuses and future irregular income; and that the court erred by declining to credit him for his overpaid child support obligations.

The couple married in 1999 and have two minor children. They divorced in 2006, with Ehrgott having sole legal and physical custody. The calculation of Ashworth’s child support obligation first came before the Court of Appeals in 2010, in which the judges remanded for recalculation of his weekly gross income and to calculate credits against his child support payments. A December 2010 modification of child support petition filed by Ehrgott led to this latest appeal.

The judges upheld the calculation of Ashworth’s 2012 and subsequently weekly child support obligation and the trial court’s use of an income allocation ratio to determine the amount of additional child support. But the court did abuse its discretion by using an irregular income factor based upon the parties’ prior financial declarations to determine Ashworth’s additional child support for his 2012 and subsequent irregular income.

The COA ordered the trial court to apply the income allocation factor of 0.1549 to his 2012 and future bonuses and correct the scrivener’s error in the April 24, 2010, income withholding order that resulted in overpayment of $8.54 per week. The trial court should calculate the credit owed to Ashworth and its repayment method.

They also held that the trial court didn’t abuse its discretion in calculating his child support obligation based on his irregular income for 2010 and 2011.

 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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