Session June 5, 2018
from the Circuit Court for Sumner County No. 2010-CV-1377 Joe
post-divorce appeal concerns the court's denial of the
mother's motion for relief from an order of the court
calculating her child support arrearage. We reverse the
court's denial of relief and hold the challenged judgment
void. We remand for further hearing.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Court Reversed; Case Remanded
Marie Alexander, Hendersonville, Tennessee, pro se.
Y. Longmire, Jr., Hendersonville, Tennessee, for the
appellee, Sean Stephen Alexander.
W. McClarty, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which
Andy D. Bennett, and Richard H. Dinkins, JJ., joined.
W. McCLARTY, JUDGE
Marie Alexander ("Mother") and Sean Stephen
Alexander ("Father") were married on March 19,
2005. Two children ("the Children") were born of
the marriage. The Parties separated in August 2010 and then
filed for an uncontested divorce on November 2, 2010, with an
attached marital dissolution agreement ("MDA"). The
MDA provided that neither party would remit child support
"[d]ue to the income of each party and the number of
overnights the [Children] spend with each party."
case proceeded to hearing on February 4, 2011, at which the
trial court considered the MDA submitted by the parties that
included a waiver of child support. The court adopted the MDA
but entered a permanent parenting plan that tasked Mother
with remitting child support in the amount of $773 per month.
However, the supporting child support worksheet cited in the
parenting plan and also adopted by the trial court provided
for a downward deviation of support to $0 per month in light
of Mother's agreement to "take responsibility for
college education fund." Further, the worksheet provided
a final child support obligation of $0 and included the
Child support will not be necessary. Neither party wishes to
accept money from the other parent.
never remitted child support; however, she remitted some
payment to a college savings account for the Children. On
July 6, 2015, Mother filed a petition for modification of the
permanent parenting plan referenced in the 2011 divorce
decree. She sought increased co-parenting time and
designation as the primary residential parent based upon an
alleged material change in circumstances.
responded by requesting dismissal of Mother's petition
and filing a counter-petition of his own, requesting the
court to hold Mother in contempt for her failure to remit
child support pursuant to the terms of the permanent
parenting plan. Father then filed a motion to dismiss
Mother's petition, citing her failure to include a
proposed parenting plan as required by Tennessee Code
Annotated section 36-6-405. Mother then filed a proposed
parenting plan that provided for her designation as the
primary residential parent and awarded each party equal
co-parenting time. The proposed plan included the following
provision for retroactive child support:
A judgment is hereby awarded in the amount of $TBD to
[Father] against the child support payor representing
retroactive support required under [the income shares child
support guidelines] dating from February 4, 2011[, ] which
shall be paid (including pre/post judgment ...