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Court of Appeals orders trial court to re-evaluate child support order

August 9, 2012

The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the part of a custody order modifying child support, finding the trial court miscalculated the mother’s current income and made other errors.

Both Daniel and Tamara Sandlin appealed the modified custody order entered in September 2011. The order modified Daniel Sandlin’s weekday parenting time, described the parties’ financial circumstances, and modified child support.

Daniel Sandlin argued on appeal that the trial court improperly failed to conclude Tamara Sandlin voluntarily left her former job and thus failed to impute income to her; that the court miscalculated her current income; that the court failed to explicitly order that Daniel Sandlin cease paying his ex-wife a clothing allowance for their three children; and that the trial court incorrectly determined the number of overnights for which he should receive parenting time credit toward his child support obligations.

Tamara Sandlin agreed with her ex-husband’s assessment of and challenge to the determination of his parenting time credit and asked the Court of Appeals to make the correction without resorting to remand.

The appellate court ruled that the trial court correctly did not impute income to Tamara Sandlin. Her decision to quit her job and start her own business was not because she wanted to avoid significant child support obligations, but because of a change in job duties and pay at her previous employer, the opinion states.

But the court did fail to calculate her current income based on the evidence and failed to explicitly order that Daniel Sandlin cease paying his ex-wife a clothing allowance. Also, based on the parties’ apparent appellate agreement, Daniel Sandlin’s parenting time credit should be reduced from 181 overnights to 113 overnights.

 

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