Assigned on Briefs February 1, 2019
from the Circuit Court for Wilson County No. 2017-DC-28 Clara
W. Byrd, Judge
divorce action, the trial court equitably divided the marital
estate, adopted a permanent parenting plan for the
parties' minor child, and set child support. On appeal,
the husband challenges the allocation of marital debt, the
denial of his request for equal parenting time, and the
calculation of child support. We affirm.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Ellis Kinslow, Springfield, Tennessee, pro se appellant.
G. Crowell, Lebanon, Tennessee, for the appellee, Sara Kelley
Neal McBrayer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Charles D. Susano, Jr., J., and J. Steven Stafford,
P.J., W.S., joined.
NEAL McBRAYER, JUDGE
January 18, 2017, in the Circuit Court for Wilson County,
Tennessee, Sara Kelley Poole ("Wife") filed for
divorce from her husband of less than four years, Ronald
Ellis Kinslow ("Husband"). This was Wife's
first marriage and Husband's fourth. Husband filed an
answer and a counter complaint for divorce.
union produced one child, born in September 2013. During the
marriage, Husband was the primary wage earner. Wife was a
full-time caregiver for the parties' child.
moved for temporary support and division of marital expenses.
The court established a temporary parenting plan that named
Wife primary residential parent and awarded Husband parenting
time every other weekend. The court also ordered Husband to
make weekly support payments for his wife and child.
June, Wife, fearing Husband intended to terminate his
employment, asked the court for a restraining order. On July
10, 2017, the court issued an order restraining Husband from
voluntarily changing his employment during the pendency of
later, Husband asked the court for permission to accept an
employment offer from Eclipse Services, LLC. In a separate
motion, Husband requested additional parenting time "due
to new living arrangements and [a] schedule change."
After a hearing on both motions, the court denied
Husband's request to change jobs because the offered
compensation was less than his current pay. But the court
granted his request for additional parenting time and awarded
him residential parenting time every other Wednesday evening.
the proof at trial focused on the parties' finances.
While Husband and Wife had no significant marital assets,
they had considerable debt.
the marriage, Wife was debt-free and employed as an assistant
property manager for an apartment complex. Husband worked
mainly in construction or maintenance. He described his
employment history as "excellent." But unlike Wife,
Husband entered the marriage with a considerable amount of
has four children from previous marriages. And he was
obligated to pay child support for his two children from his
second marriage. As of 2013, Husband owed $670 in monthly
child support and an additional $458 per month on a child
support arrearage of $45, 888. Husband claimed that the
arrearage was a mistake. According to Husband, his ex-wife
agreed with him and was returning part of his child support
payment each month.
was also saddled with a federal tax lien of $946, 668. He
disputed the amount owed to the IRS, but agreed that he had
failed to file an income tax return for 2007. At trial,
Husband maintained that his tax attorney had recently filed a
return for 2007 and was working to resolve the IRS's
questions about his 2006 return. But the tax lien remained
outstanding; no payments had been made.
their child's birth, Wife stopped working outside the
home, and the couple started a remodeling business, R&S
Restoration and Remodeling. Husband was in charge of the
business operations. Although R&S was organized as a sole
proprietorship in Wife's name, her involvement was
minimal. According to Wife, Husband chose to structure the
business this way to shield the income from the IRS. The
business was ultimately unsuccessful. And R&S officially
closed in late 2014.
then accepted full-time employment with Central Transport. He
"did everything from structural building maintenance to
HVAC [and] electrical." He was paid $24 an hour plus a
per diem for travel. Generally, he was on the road for
ten-day intervals and then home for four. In 2015 and 2016,