Sallae v. Omar (Nebraska 2021)

No. A-21-117 (Neb. Ct. App. 2021)
September 2021

A parent who seeks to modify a child support order must show a ten percent change in support, upward or downward, due to financial circumstances which have lasted three months and that will most likely continue for another six months. In this case, the initial support order required the father to pay monthly child support of $50. The mother filed to modify support citing the parties change in employment and income. Testimony showed the father had worked but was not working at the time of hearing. He testified he could only work 20 hours per week, and he suffered from sleeping issues and other ailments. He offered no supporting documentation. The mother was eligible for a raise, which meant the child no longer qualified for Medicaid. She was going to have to insure him through her employer-provided insurance. The trial court calculated the father’s income using his average earnings from the time he was employed. The trial court used the mother’s current hourly wage to calculate her income and credited her for the health insurance premium. The final order increased support. The father appealed. He argued the mother had not shown a material change in circumstances. The appellate court found the guideline support amount met the modification requirement and created a rebuttable presumption. The father failed to rebut the presumption. He provided no proof of his inability to work. The trial court correctly used the mother’s current hourly wage to compute income. Any raise amount was speculative. The court also properly gave her credit for the health insurance premium. She submitted an exhibit as to the amount of the premium, and the father didn’t object. He also didn’t argue that she would be required to cover the child.