Nowell v. Stewart (Mississippi 2022)
The modification of a child support order requires an unforeseen change of circumstances. The parent requesting the modification bears the burden of proof. The mother filed to modify child support based on the increased cost of the child’s special needs. After a lengthy proceeding, the chancery court enterd an order increasing support. The chancery court found the child’s needs had increased and had extensive medical expenses. The chancery court made the modification retroactive and entered a judgment. The father appealed, arguing the court erred in using the child’s special needs as a reason to increase support and an increase in expenses was foreseeable due to the child’s special needs. The appellate court affirmed. The mother met her burden of providing the expenses were unforeseeable and presented evidence of the amount of the expenses. Evidence included testimony from the mother and the child’s doctor, financial statement, and the child’s educational and medical records.