STATE EX REL. SHARON DENISE TOWNSEND
ERIC WAYNE WILLIAMSON
Session: April 18, 2018
from the Juvenile Court for Shelby County No. P155 Nancy P.
Kessler, Special Judge
appeals the trial court's order, charging Appellant with
$23, 663.54 in child support arrearage. Specifically,
Appellant asserts that he is entitled to certain credits
against the arrearage. Discerning no error, we affirm and
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Juvenile
Court is Affirmed and Remanded
Wayne Williamson, pro se, Chicago, Illinois, Appellant.
Herbert H. Slattery, III, Attorney General and Reporter, and
Sara Ohlman, Assistant Attorney General, for the Appellee,
State of Tennessee ex rel Sharon Denise Townsend.
Armstrong, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which
J. Steven Stafford, P.J., W.S., and Arnold B. Goldin, J.,
the third appeal of this child support and custody case.
State of Tennessee ex rel. Townsend v. Williamson,
No. W2004-02980-COA-R3-JV, 2006 WL 1493632 (Tenn. Ct. App.
June 1, 2006) ("Williamson I"); State
of Tennessee ex rel. Townsend v. Williamson, No.
W2006-02287-COA-R3-JV, 2007 WL 2200287 (Tenn. Ct. App. Aug.
2, 2007) ("Williamson II"). Facts relevant
to the instant appeal are set out in Williamson II,
Appellant Eric Wayne Williamson (Mr. Williamson) and Appellee
Sharon Townsend (Ms. Townsend) are the parents of M.A.W.,
born May 22, 1998. In May 2003, Mr. Williamson's
parentage was established following his petition to establish
parentage. The trial court awarded Mr. Williamson and Ms.
Townsend joint custody, with Ms. Townsend named primary
custodian, and set Mr. Williamson's child support
obligation at $521 per month, payable by income assignment.
Mr. Williamson was also ordered to provide medical insurance
and expenses for M.A.W.
On June 4, 2003, Ms. Townsend filed a petition stating that
M.A.W. had been residing with her since birth and seeking
custody. This matter was docketed under number P658. On
January 12, 2004, Mr. Williamson, now a resident of Missouri,
filed an intervening petition for sole custody alleging a
material change in circumstance. In his petition, Mr.
Williamson asserted that Ms. Townsend had not provided proper
supervision for M.A.W. On June 16, 2004, the juvenile referee
established a visitation schedule and continued the matter.
The matter was heard by the trial court on June 16, 2004;
neither party was represented by counsel. At the hearing Mr.
Williamson argued that Ms. Townsend neglected M.A.W. . . . At
the conclusion of the hearing, the trial court found that Mr.
Williamson had not proved a change in circumstance warranting
modification of custody.
Mr. Williamson filed a petition to rehear on June 17, 2004.
In the meantime, on August 9, 2004, Ms. Townsend and the
State Child Support Services Division filed petitions against
Mr. Williamson for contempt for failure to pay medical
expenses. This matter was docketed under docket number P155.
On September 14, 2004, under docket number P155, Mr.
Williamson filed a petition to modify child support. On
September 23, Mr. Williamson filed another request for a
rehearing of the custody dispute, this time under docket
number P658, the docket number of the original custody
modification proceeding. The trial court granted Mr.
Williamson's request the same day.
On October 20, 2004, the trial court denied Mr.
Williamson's petition to modify child support under
docket number P155 and ordered him to be confined to the
Shelby County jail "until he purges himself of contempt
by paying to the Clerk of the Court the sum of $500.00, a
part of the amount he is in arrears." The trial court
also ordered Mr. Williamson to pay Ms. Townsend's
attorney's fees in the amount of $250. However, although
the order contained a stamped signature by the juvenile court
judge, it included no indication that it had been filed with
the clerk of the court. Mr. Williamson filed a notice of
appeal of the contempt matter to this Court on November 14,
In February 2005, Mr. Williamson failed to appear at the
rehearing of the custody matter docketed under number P658.
The trial court therefore dismissed Mr. Williamson's
petition to rehear and reaffirmed its order of June 16, 2004.
Like the October 2004 order, however, this order included no
indication that it had been filed with the clerk of the
After reviewing Mr. Williamson's notice of appeal of the
matter docketed under number P155, this Court[, in
Williamson I, ] ordered Mr.
Williamson to show cause why the matter should not be
dismissed for lack of a final judgment. In May 2005, Mr.
Williamson, now represented by counsel, filed a motion to
consolidate the matters docketed under numbers P155 and P658
in the trial court. The matters were consolidated by the
trial court on June 22, 2005.
On June 1, 2006, this Court[, in Williamson I, ]
dismissed the matter for lack of jurisdiction because the
trial court's orders did not "bear any indicia, on
their face, of entry by the clerk of the court." The
trial court properly filed its order, amended certificates of
service were entered, and the order became final on September
11, 2006. Oral argument was heard in this Court on July 18,
2007. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.
Williamson II, 2007 WL 2200287, at *1-2. In
Williamson II, Mr. Williamson only appealed the
trial court's custody determination in its September 11,
2006 order. Williamson II, 2007 WL 2200287, at *2
("The sole issue presented for review is whether the
trial court erred in determining that no material change in
circumstance warranting the modification of child custody has
occurred since the entry of the initial custody
order."). Accordingly, the May 2003 order, which (under
Williamson II) "became final on September 11,
2006," remained in effect and was not disturbed on
appeal. The May 2003 order set Mr. Williamson's child
support at $521 per month.
11, 2007, Appellee filed a petition to modify Mr.
Williamson's child support alleging that "since the
entry of the last order of support there ha[d] been a
significant variance between the Tennessee Child Support
guidelines and the amount of child support . . . ordered,
such that a modification in child support [was]
justified." On October 2, 2007, Appellant Mr. Williamson
filed a petition to establish his child support arrears.
Specifically, Mr. Williamson's petition states that Mr.
Williamson "had physical custody of [M.A.W.] from May
2003 to August 2003, May 2004 to August 2004, and May 2005 to
August 2005," during which time periods Appellant
allegedly "provided necessaries on behalf of said
child." Based on the foregoing averments, Mr. Williamson
asked the court to establish his child support arrears and to
allow him a credit for necessaries provided during the time
Mr. Williamson had custody of the Child. In response to Mr.
Williamson's petition, on December 10, 2007, Appellee
State of Tennessee ex rel. Townsend, petitioned the
trial court to find Mr. Williamson in contempt for his
failure to pay child support in the amount of $521 per month,
as set in the May 2003 order (which became final on September
11, 2006). All of these petitions were heard by the juvenile
court referee on March 27, 2008. On the same day, the
juvenile court approved the findings and recommendations of
the referee, which were that: (1) Mr. Williamson was in
contempt of court for failure to pay the $521 per month in
child support; (2) Mr. Williamson would be confined to jail
until he paid $500 toward his total child support arrearage;
(3) Mr. Williamson's child support obligation would be
decreased from $521 per month to $374 per month beginning
July 1, 2007.
27, 2010, Mr. Williamson filed a petition to modify child
support. By order of August 23, 2010 the juvenile court
magistrate denied Mr. Williamson's petition. Mr.
Williamson filed a petition for hearing before the judge,
which was granted. The trial court heard Mr. Williamson's
petition to modify child support on October 5, 2010. By order
of October 20, 2010, the juvenile court held, in relevant
part, that "the previous order of this Court entered on
March 27, 2008 be modified to increase child support payments
by income assignment from $374 monthly to $545 monthly
beginning October 1, 2010. . . ."
October 20, 2015, Mr. Williamson filed a petition "to
modify order, petition to set arrearages and for credit to
arrearages," and to terminate child support (based on
the child reaching majority). The magistrate heard the
petition on December 1, 2015 and entered its initial findings
and recommendations on January 8, 2016. The magistrate
entered corrected findings and recommendations on February 1,
2016, finding, in relevant part:
2. That the previous order of the Court entered on October 5,
2010 be modified to decrease child support payments from
$545.00 per month to $352.00 per month beginning November 1,
2015 to be paid by income assignment . . . .
3. That the child support arrears shall be paid by income
assignment at the rate of $50.00 per month beginning November
1, 2015. Payment of arrears at the rate shown above is a
minimum payment and does not preclude the petitioner from
collecting the judgment by other means . . . .
The magistrate continued the hearing until February 23, 2016
"at the request of the State to contact the State of
Illinois to determine what, if any support was paid through
Illinois, and for the State of Tennessee to prepare an
arrears computation." The case was further continued
until May 17, 2016. Following the hearing on May 17, 2016,
the magistrate entered findings and recommendations on June
8, 2016. The magistrate terminated Mr. Williamson's child
support obligation, effective May 31, 2016. The magistrate
further ordered that Mr. Williamson would pay his child
support arrearage at a rate of $150.00 per month, beginning
June 1, 2016. The court then continued that case until July
26, 2016 "for [Appellant] to provide proof of income and
for the State to prepare arrears calculations including the