Confusion From Clerical Errors Didn’t Deprive Jurisdiction

Tennessee youngster assist assortment case abstract.

Katherine Mechelle Stooksbury v. Matthew D. Varney

The events on this Knox County, Tennessee, case had been by no means married, however had been the mother and father of 1 minor youngster.  In 2017, the court docket acknowledged the daddy because the dad or mum, set the kid assist obligation, and set a everlasting parenting plan.  The daddy was additionally ordered to pay excellent youngster assist in addition to half of the beginning prices.

In 2018, the mom filed for contempt, alleging that funds weren’t made as required.  There was, nevertheless, some confusion as to which court docket was listening to the case.  The daddy asserted that the case had been filed in Union County, and the case did have a docket quantity in each counties.

The trial court docket discovered that not one of the beginning prices had been paid, and apart from a single fee of $500, no youngster assist had been paid.

The daddy was held in contempt, however the order contained the identify of 1 county, however the docket quantity within the different county.  The court docket finally corrected this, and the order was filed with the court docket clerk in Knox County.

The daddy moved to put aside the judgment on the grounds that the Union County court docket didn’t have jurisdiction over the matter.

To additional complicate issues, one other petition was filed in 2019 in Knox County, filed in Knox County, however erroneously captioned in Union County.

In the end, the case was heard, and it was discovered that the daddy owed over $85,000 in previous youngster assist, plus lawyer charges of over $16,000.  The daddy then appealed to the Tennessee Courtroom of Appeals.

The daddy first argued that the trial court docket lacked jurisdiction, because it was performing as a court docket of Union County, with out Knox County having relinquished jurisdiction.

The appeals court docket examined the document, and held that regardless that the trial decide was appointed a juvenile decide in Union County, he always had the identical energy and jurisdiction in Knox County.

The appeals court docket acknowledged that clerical errors had been made, however that these clerical errors didn’t rob the trial court docket of subject material jurisdiction.  Whereas there was a “regrettable quantity of confusion,” this didn’t deprive the court docket of jurisdiction.

The daddy additionally argued that the award of lawyer’s charges was unreasonable.  However after reviewing the document, the appeals court docket held that the decrease court docket had acted inside its discretion.

Lastly, the daddy argued that the decrease court docket acted improperly in ordering him to pay again the arrearage at $1000 per 30 days.  However once more, the appeals court docket held that the decrease court docket had acted correctly.

The appeals court docket due to this fact affirmed, and in addition ordered the mom to be paid her lawyer charges on enchantment.  It remanded the case for a calculation of the quantity.

No. E2021-01449-COA-R3-JV (Tenn. Ct. App. Mar. 27, 2023).

See authentic opinion for actual language.  Authorized citations omitted.

To be taught extra, see Youngster Assist Assortment & Enforcement in Tennessee.

See additionally Tennessee Parenting Plans and Child Support Worksheets: Building a Constructive Future for Your Family that includes precise examples of parenting plans and youngster assist worksheets from actual circumstances accessible on