Hollis v. Hollis (Tennessee 2022)

No. 2018-CV-93 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2022)
June 2022

The definition of income is broad and all-encompassing. A reasonable necessity standard is applied to child support awards when the parents earn more than $10,000 per month. The parents of two special needs children filed for divorce.  The husband, a financial advisor, was the primary source of income for the family. His income included a loan from his employer, which was tied to performance goals. The loan was forgiven as he met the goals. As his income exceeded $10,000 per month, the trial court had to consider the reasonable necessity standard when awarding support above the guidelines. In its final order, the trial court found support should be set above the guideline amount in light of the father’s income and the children’s extensive special needs. Both parents appealed the final order. The husband appealed the child support award, arguing the loan shouldn’t have been included as income and the trial court applied the wrong standard in making the upward deviation. The appellate court affirmed the child support award. The husband’s argument that the loan wasn’t part of his income had no merit. The trial court appropriately considered his actual income. The Court applied the correct standard to determine child support. The record contained overwhelming evidence as to the children’s special needs. The appellate court found the trial court applied the correct standard and that its decision was not illogical or unjust.