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Domestic Relations – Parent & Child – Support – Father’s Income – Multiple Accounts

Holding: Given sparse evidence supporting the plaintiff-father’s assertion that he earned $1,500 a month, as well as evidence that he maintained multiple accounts and moved money around in order to avoid his creditors, the trial court should have made more than a summary finding that plaintiff’s monthly income was $1,500.

Vacated and remanded.

The self-employed plaintiff-father asserted that he earned $1,500 per month, but the only evidence to support this assertion was plaintiff’s own testimony and a worksheet submitted to the trial court.

The defendant-mother raised evidence that plaintiff deposited funds into multiple accounts. Plaintiff admitted that he maintained multiple accounts. In some cases, his name was the sole name on these accounts, and some of these accounts were used for personal expenses, such as expenses for his children.

However, the trial court’s order is devoid of any reference to these accounts, instead summarily finding that plaintiff’s gross monthly income is $1,500. This lack of specificity confounds our ability to review the order.

Plaintiff testified, on questioning by his own attorney, that he deposited and withdrew funds in various accounts in order to avoid his creditors. It is therefore clear that these accounts were financially significant and merited some examination, even if only to eliminate the possibility of the mingling of funds. Instead, the trial court’s sole finding was a summary statement of plaintiff’s monthly income as $1,500, absent any explanation or justification.

We vacate and remand for further findings and a child support award based upon those findings.

Thomson v. Holling (Lawyers Weekly No. 012-025-18, 7 pp.) (Ann Marie Calabria, J.) Appealed from Union County District Court (Hunt Gwyn, J.) No brief filed for plaintiff; Rebecca Watts for defendant. N.C. App. Unpub.

 

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