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Home / Top Legal News / Domestic Relations – Motion to Modify – Child Support & Spousal Support – Change in Circumstances – Findings of Fact

Domestic Relations – Motion to Modify – Child Support & Spousal Support – Change in Circumstances – Findings of Fact

Darden v. Darden. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-16-0407, 4 pp.) (John C. Martin, Ch.J.) Appealed from Guilford County District Court (Teresa Vincent, J.). N.C. App. Unpub.

Holding: A trial court’s order that the defendant’s child support and spousal support payments “should continue” did not establish that the defendant had permanent support obligations.

The order dismissing the defendant’s motions to modify child support and spousal support and classifying the defendant’s support obligations as permanent is vacated and remanded for a determination on the merits.

Facts

In May 2004, the trial court ordered the defendant to pay $338 per week in support of the plaintiff and their minor child.

A February 2007 order stated that the defendant’s family support obligations should continue except he would no longer be obligated to provide the plaintiff’s health insurance.

The defendant moved to modify his child support obligation and terminate spousal support because of a reduction in his income in 2008. In April 2009, the trial court dismissed the motion as “legally insufficient.”

Discussion

Several of the trial court’s findings of fact are not supported by the record, and its conclusion to dismiss the action is not supported by the findings.

First, the trial court erred by finding that the support obligations were made permanent by the February 2007 order. The February 2007 order provides only that the support payment set out in the April 2004 order should continue and does not amount to a permanent award.

Second, there is no evidence in the record to support the trial court’s finding that the defendant was employed after the filing of the 2008 motion or its findings with respect to the defendant’s future employment.

Therefore, the trial court’s findings of fact cannot support its conclusions of law.

Vacated and remanded.

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