In re Jonathan S. (Tennessee 2022)

No. M2021-00370-COA-R3-JV (Tenn. Ct. App. 2022)
August 2022

A parent who requests a modification must prove a significant variance exists in the support obligation. When imputing income, the court must consider the statutory factors. The father requested a modification of child support. The trial court found the mother voluntarily underemployed and imputed income to her at the rate of her former job, which was in a different city. The mother appealed. The appellate court reversed. First, the father never actually alleged a significant variance in support and the trial court didn’t conduct a proper analysis. Second, the trial court didn’t properly determine the mother’s income. The record supported the determination she was voluntarily underemployed. However, the trial court didn’t apply any of the statutory factors to determine her income, including considering her current residence, job skills, and the local job market. Instead, the trial court imputed income from her prior job, which was two hours away from her current residence. This was an abuse of the trial court’s discretion.