Session January 18, 2017
from the Circuit Court for Williamson County No. 08431 Deanna
B. Johnson, Judge
a post-divorce child support modification case. Ola Halim
filed a petition against her former husband, Tarek G.
El-Alayli, seeking an increase in child support based upon a
material change in circumstances. The parties' final
divorce decree had incorporated a permanent parenting plan
setting child support at $3, 000 per month. The day before
the hearing on the petition, mother filed a request for
relief seeking an upward deviation in child support for the
specific needs of one of the children; a special needs trust
for that child; and an educational trust for another one of
the parties' children. Following the hearing, the trial
court entered an order setting monthly child support at $4,
009 and denying mother's other requests. Mother appeals.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Court Affirmed; Case Remanded.
Timothy Street, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ola
Speers Johnson, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellee, Tarek
Charles D. Susano, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the
court, in which Andy d. Bennett and W. Neal McBrayer, JJ.,
CHARLES D. SUSANO, JR., JUDGE
and father are the parents of three children, Sammy, Maggie,
and Dina. Sammy and Maggie have both reached majority. Maggie
suffers from severe autism. Mother and father were appointed
co-conservators of Maggie by the Williamson County Chancery
Court. The conservatorship order provides the following:
[Mother] shall have the sole authority to make decisions
regarding the educational planning, the type and quantity of
intervention Maggie shall receive, the services she receives
from any applicable agency and/or provider, daily care
outside of the home and her day to day programming. . . .
[Mother] shall make these planning and programming decisions
based solely on Maggie's needs and what is in her best
interest. [Mother] shall act reasonably and prudently in this
regard and this authority is not intended to have the effect
of dictating the financial or support obligations to be
provided by [father] . . . .
original divorce litigation in the trial court, the parties
agreed on a permanent parenting plan that designated mother
as the primary residential parent. The plan called for father
to pay monthly child support of $3, 000. The $3, 000 figure
included basic child support of $2, 191 and an upward
deviation of $809 due to the special needs of Maggie. On
August 3, 2010, the trial court entered a final divorce
decree incorporating the parties' plan.
April 11, 2014, mother filed a document entitled
"petition to set child support." In her petition,
she asked the court to set an appropriate amount of child
support based upon "the material change in circumstance
resulting from the increase in father's income, the
emancipation of one of their children, and the special needs
of their severely disabled child . . . ." The day before
the hearing on the petition, mother filed a document titled
"notice of request of relief sought." In this
pleading, she requested the following monthly amounts: (1)
$2, 100 in child support for Dina; (2) $150 for Dina's
cheerleading expenses; (3) $1, 533 in special education for
Maggie; (4) $350 as an allowance for spending money for
Maggie; (5) $30 for a camp for Maggie to attend; (6) $330 for
food for Maggie; (7) $185 representing one third of the
utilities for Maggie; (8) $250 for vacation for Maggie; and
(9) $714 representing one third of the mortgage for housing
for Maggie. These requests total $5, 642 per month.
Additionally, mother requested that father be obligated to
pay $2, 000 per month into an educational trust for Dina and
$2, 000 per month into a special needs trust for Maggie. In
total, mother requested $9, 642 per month.
November 12, 2015, the trial court entered an order on
mother's petition. The court made the following findings:
Father has paid his full support obligation in a timely
manner each month since the entry of the Final Decree of
When Sammy El-Alalyi emancipated, [f]ather continued paying
the child support of $3, 000 per month, which was the rate
for all three children. Father did not file a Petition to
reduce his support.
The negotiated Parenting Plan did not obligate [f]ather to
pay for any of the children's college education or
Nevertheless, [f]ather has paid all of Sammy El-Alayli's
college tuition, fees, books and room & board.
Father also pays Sammy's health insurance and uncovered
medical bills voluntarily and without a Court Order to do so.
The parties have shared Dina's cheerleading expenses.
Father recently paid $1, 300 for Dina's cheerleading at
Brentwood High School.
In the Fall of 2015, Maggie will start her second of four
years in the Transition Program at Brentwood High School.
There is no cost for Maggie attending Brentwood High School
in the Transition Program.
From the time Maggie was 2 years old until she turned 10
years of age, [m]other worked seven days per week at the
Son-Rise Program for Autism, in the parties' home. This
work made [m]other very qualified to work with Maggie on
socialization exercises and communication.
Mother works on a part-time basis as an interpreter. She
earned approximately $10, 000 in 2014, with this part-time
Jackie Batey has been Maggie's childcare provider since
Jackie Batey charges $15 per hour to care for Maggie. The
$809 per month upward deviation that was agreed to at the
divorce equates to 53.93 hours of additional care for Maggie
Mother hires Jackie Batey to get Maggie off the school bus
every Monday and Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. Then, Jackie keeps
Maggie until 6:00 p.m.
On Mondays, Ms. Batey takes Maggie to the Williamson County
Recreation Center to participate in a group activity from
4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
On Wednesdays, Ms. Batey and Maggie may go to Goodwill and
shop. . . . She also loves to go shopping at Publix, Target
and Kroger and likes to eat at Burger King or McDonald's.
According to Ms. Batey, there is no reason [m]other could not
take Maggie to the activities she attends on Monday and
Mother is at home without children while Maggie and Dina are
in school from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Father gets Maggie every Tuesday and Thursday at 3:30 p.m.
and keeps Maggie until 7:30 p.m.
Father has Maggie on alternate weekends from Friday at 3:00
p.m. to Sunday at 6:00 p.m. . . .
The $809 upward deviation that [f]ather now pays would
cover Ms. Batey's current care on Mondays and Wednesdays
from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. each week and nine (9)
hours of care on those alternate weekends ...