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Divided COA panel reverses modification of support

August 13, 2015

A judge who ordered a modification of child support after a father told the court he was moving out of state and intended to seek custody of a minor child acted prematurely, a Court of Appeals panel majority ruled Thursday.

“The trial court held that when Father filed notice of intent to move and his petition to modify custody, the court was also authorized to modify support,” Judge Edward Najam wrote for the majority joined by Judge Ezra Friedlander. “We disagree and hold that the retroactive support order was contrary to law because the statute requires a party to file a petition to modify a child support order.”

The majority remanded David V. Taylor v. Sheryl Crowder Taylor, 49A04-1502-DR-58, to Marion Superior Judge Heather A. Welch for a recalculation of the father’s arrearage from March 2013.

Judge John Baker dissented and would affirm the trial court.

“In my view, the majority’s interpretation of the statutes at issue is overly technical. When Father filed his initial motion to modify child custody, he indicated his intent to move out of state and to seek custody” of one of two children, Baker wrote. “Father’s initial motion indicated that he anticipated a change in custody and/or child support. All of these factors, together, served to put the parties and the trial court on notice that child support was an issue.”
 
 

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