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Judges affirm $6,600 in child support arrearage

May 8, 2014

The Indiana Court of Appeals agreed that a father owed only $6,600 in back child support and not $74,000 as the child’s mother claimed.

L.S., the daughter of Belinda Douglas and Neil Spicer, was born in February 1994. Spicer was listed on L.S.’s birth certificate, but a paternity action initiated in late 2004 was dismissed in October 2005 after both parties failed to appear at a status hearing.

Before dismissing the action, the trial court in February 2005 entered a provisional order for Neil to pay Douglas $200 per week in child support. Spicer never paid the court-ordered child support, but did provide financial care for his daughter, including providing health insurance.

Douglas filed to reopen the case in 2012, in which the trial court ordered Spicer to pay $6,600 in arrearage for the 33 weeks between Feb. 23, 2005, and Oct. 12, 2005, when the court dismissed the case.

Douglas argued that Spicer actually owes her $74,000 in arrearage, but the Court of Appeals affirmed the court-ordered amount. The judges found the same principle in I.C. 31-15-4-14 applies in this case. That statute provides that a provisional order in a dissolution action terminates when the final decree is entered or the petition for dissolution is dismissed.  Since the February 2005 child support order was a provisional order for “temporary support” pending a hearing on child support, the trial court properly found Spicer’s obligation to pay child support ended in October 2005.

The judges also rejected Douglas’ claim that Spicer did not satisfy his common law duty to support his daughter in Belinda Douglas v. Neil Spicer and L.S., 32A01-1309-JP-403.

 

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