COA grants mom partial victory in irregular child support dispute

The Indiana Court of Appeals has found a father in contempt for failing to pay years’ worth of irregular child support, reversing a lower court’s denial of his ex-wife’s petition to show cause for his failure to pay.

When Gerald Corcoran III filed for divorce from Kriston Scott, the parents agreed to a decree of dissolution that included their negotiated settlement agreement and settled several issues, including child support for their two children.

The agreed decree stated among other things that Corcoran, an operations manager for Scrap Metal Services, would pay $235 per week in child support as well as 12% of all irregular income he earned in excess of $2,903.79 per week. Corcoran also agreed to notify Scott when his tax returns were filed and had 30 days after the parties calculated support to pay all the amounts owed for his irregular income.

Although he paid the irregular child support amounts for 2012 and 2013, Corcoran did not pay irregular child support in 2014 or 2015 and failed to timely provide Scott his tax returns for 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. After years of not paying, Corcoran paid a lump-sum payment of $108,021.00 for irregular child support.

A trial court granted Scott’s petition for rule to show cause for Corcoran’s failure to timely submit his tax returns to her, but denied Scott’s petition for rule to show cause regarding alleged failure to pay child support, among other things.

In a review of the case, the Indiana Court of Appeals found no error in the denial of Scott’s additional motion for extension of time and petition for attorney fees or a finding that Corcoran overpaid Scott irregular child support. It did, however, disagree with the trial court as to the appropriate way to treat the overpayment.

“Under the circumstances before us, the proper remedy for Father’s overpayment of child support is a credit, not a money judgment against Mother. Thus, we find that Father is entitled to a credit in the amount of his overpayment toward his future irregular child support obligation,” Judge Elizabeth Tavitas wrote for the court. It therefore vacated the trial court’s entry of a money judgment against Scott, remanding with instructions for the trial court to award Corcoran a credit in the amount of $20,483.23.

However, the appellate court found the trial court clearly erred when it denied Scott’s petition for rule to show cause. Appellate judges agreed with Scott’s assertion that Corcoran freely deviated from the agreed decree to her detriment when he failed to pay child support for three consecutive years, only pay a lump sum after she petitioned to hold him in contempt. The panel also noted Corcoran admittedly never provided his tax returns to enable a resolution of support from his excess income, essentially enabling him to style his own support schedule.

The appellate court thus declared it was “unmoved” by Corcoran’s claims that he was not in contempt and that his conduct complied with the agreed decree in Kriston M Scott v. Gerald J Corcoran, III, 19A-DR-00444.

“To the contrary … the evidence establishes that Father repeatedly flouted his obligations and duties — enumerated in the Agreed Decree — regarding his irregular child support obligation,” the panel concluded. It thus reversed and remanded with instructions to enter a finding of contempt for Corcoran for his failure to abide by the terms of the agreed decree regarding irregular child support in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 and to determine whether contempt sanctions are appropriate.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining
{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining Article limit resets on
{{ count_down }}