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Posted by: Chandra Williams on Jul 27, 2016

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

J.P. Barfield and Mark C. Scruggs, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, John Michael Thayer.

Attorneys 2:

Mary Arline Evans, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Jennifer Lynn Thayer.

Judge(s): MCBRAYER

This appeal arises from post-divorce efforts to modify child support. The father agreed, in the original parenting plan, to pay the tuition for a program for children with autism in lieu of child support. Subsequently, the parties agreed to enroll their child in a private school for children with learning challenges, and the father voluntarily paid the tuition. Several years later, the mother filed a petition for modification of child support after the father refused to continue paying the tuition. After a hearing, the trial court found a significant variance between the child support obligation in the agreed parenting plan and the presumed amount of child support under the Tennessee Child Support Guidelines. The court calculated a new child support amount after finding that the father was voluntarily underemployed and allocating additional income to him based on his earning potential. The court also ordered an upward deviation for extraordinary educational expenses and awarded the mother a portion of her attorney's fees. Upon review of the record, the evidence does not preponderate against the trial court's factual findings, and we find no abuse of discretion in the trial court's decision. Therefore, we affirm and remand this case for a determination of the amount of the mother?s reasonable attorney's fees on appeal.