Dixon v. Olmstead (Mississippi 2020)

No. 2019-CA-000630COA (Miss. Ct. App. 2020)
May 2020

Proof of a substantial change of circumstances isn’t required when a IV-D agency petitions for a modification under the three-year review statute. However, the record must contain evidence of the parent’s income. The father filed to terminate support and his parental rights to a minor child. The Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS) filed a cross-complaint to modify support. The father also filed for contempt over visitation issues. Specific to support, the chancellor upwardly modified the support amount. The father appealed. On appeal, the father argued the record contained no findings to support the upward modification. The appellate court found that the IV-D agency, as the petitioner, didn’t have to show a substantial change under statute. However, the record didn’t contain sufficient evidence of the father’s adjusted gross income to justify the new support amount.  The Court also agreed with MDHS in that the attorney for the IV-D agency did not represent the interests of the mother so any issues not related to child support would be the mother’s responsibility to address. The appellate court reversed and remanded for further findings.