Session Date February 25, 2015
Appeal from the Circuit Court for Bradley County No. V09323 Hon. Lawrence H. Puckett, Judge No. E2014-00548-COA-R3-CV-FILED-APRIL 20, 2015
Joshua H. Jenne, Cleveland, Tennessee, for the appellant, Roger Eldar Langlo.
Jerry Hoffer, Cleveland, Tennessee, for the appellee, Amelia Jane Langlo.
John W. McClarty, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Charles D. Susano, Jr., C.J., and D. Michael Swiney, J., joined.
JOHN W. MCCLARTY, JUDGE
The parties, Amelia Jane Langlo ("Mother") and Roger Eldar Langlo ("Father") were divorced by agreement in November 2009. Pursuant to the agreement, Father was tasked with remitting approximately $1, 000 per month in child support for their minor child. In setting his support obligation, the parties completed a child support worksheet that indicated that Mother did not have an income, while Father had an income of approximately $8, 316 per month. Following several hearings, Father was also tasked with remitting rehabilitative alimony once the marital residence was sold. Specifically, Father was required to remit $1, 500 per month for 12 months and then $1, 000 per month for an additional 36 months. The court conditioned the amount of the spousal support obligation on Mother's living arrangement, namely Father's obligation for the first 12 months would be reduced to $1, 000 per month if Mother lived with her parents.
On April 10, 2013, Mother filed a petition for contempt, alleging that Father had only remitted $500 in spousal support even though she was entitled to $1, 500 per month following the sale of the marital residence in September 2012. She acknowledged that the child support payments were current through a wage assignment but asserted that she only received payment from one of his paychecks each month. She requested a wage assignment from each paycheck for future alimony and child support payments through either Father's employer or the State of Tennessee Child Support Services Division. She also sought permission to claim the minor child as an exemption for tax purposes each year.
Father responded by denying wrongdoing and asserting that his spousal support obligation was limited to $1, 000 per month because Mother lived with her parents. He also filed a counter-petition to modify his spousal support obligation, arguing that Mother had failed to make a "measurable effort to rehabilitate herself" or strive for self-sufficiency; therefore, she was not entitled to further payment from him. Thereafter, he orally requested modification of his child support obligation.
On January 24, 2014, a hearing was held on the petition for contempt and the corresponding counter-petitions for modification of the alimony and child support obligations. Mother, who was 46 years old at the time of the hearing, claimed that she did not receive any payments from Father until February 2013. She claimed that he only paid $1, 000 per month following the initial payment.
Mother testified that she moved to Texas in December 2011. She lived with her parents in their residence when she first moved. Since May 2012, she lived in a home owned by her parents that was approximately 30 minutes from their residence. She claimed that she was tasked with remitting $1, 500 in rent each month. She stated that her parents allowed her to remain in the residence even though she was unable to regularly provide rental payments. She said that she attempted to pay for expenses related to the house when possible. She supported herself with a credit card and money she borrowed from her father.
Mother acknowledged that her 2012 tax return reflected an adjusted gross income of $71, 500. She asserted that she did not work in 2012 and that the income reflected on her tax return reflected dividends and capital gains on her inheritance account. She stated that she withdrew everything from her account to pay her medical bills and that she was required to file a tax return to reflect the withdrawal. She claimed that she did not receive a regular income because she was unemployed and unable to work due to her medical condition.
Mother explained that she had bilateral knee replacement surgery in 2008. Since that time, she had ongoing health issues and complications. She underwent surgery on her foot in November 2012, and she recently met with a knee specialist, who advised her that both of her knees would need "revisions." He also recommended bariatric surgery to lower her weight before she could receive the knee procedures.
Mother testified she had been unable to maintain regular, full-time employment since 2008. She stated that in December 2011, she worked for her father for a short period of time until her health declined again. She stated that she also acquired a position at an arts and crafts store in 2013 but that she quit shortly thereafter when they asked her to work in the early morning hours, which would require her to leave her minor child without supervision. The record reflects that she received ...