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COA finds trial court acted within its discretion when calculating father’s actual income

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A father’s messy financial statements do not prevent a trial court from doing its own calculations and increasing his weekly child support payments, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled.

The appeals court rejected the father’s arguments in In Re: The Paternity of Jo.J., J.W.J. v. D.C., 29A05-1209-JP-447, and affirmed the judgment of the trial court.

On May 25, 2012, the trial court held a hearing on the mother’s request for a temporary child support order to be issued pending a final decision on her appeal of the original order which reduced the father’s support obligation.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the trial court asked the mother and father to submit their financial statements. On June 21, 2012, the court issued a formal written order and filed a separate order changing the father’s weekly support obligation to $252.52 per week.

The father appealed. He argued the trial court lacked jurisdiction to issue a temporary support order while the mother’s appeals was still pending. Moreover, he asserted, even if the lower court could temporarily modify child support during the appeal, the specific support amount ordered was not supported by the evidence.

The appeals court found while the mother’s request for modification was premature, the trial court did not issue a final written order temporarily modifying child support until one day after the Indiana Supreme Court denied transfer.

Thus, since these orders recalculating father’s income and support obligation were not issued until after the denial of transfer, the trial court did not err in modifying the father’s child support payments prospectively.

In regard to the $252.52 weekly payments, the COA speculated the trial court arrived at that figure based on the mother’s statement that she needed at least $250 a week to meet her bills.

Pointing to Elbert v. Elbert, 579 N.E. 2d 102, 112 (Ind. Ct. App. 1991), the COA noted trial courts must consider the children’s needs and the parent’s general economic condition when determining the amount of child support.

Consequently, the COA ruled that the trial court did not err when it arrived at a figure that would allow the mother to continue living in her home and providing for the child.

 

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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

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