Canzoneri v. Burns (Tennessee 2021)

No. M2020-01109-COA-RD-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. 2021)
August 2021

The Tennessee child support guidelines contain specific factors to consider when declaring parent underemployed. In this modification action, the father was a self-employed landscaper. Citing his education, background, and a booming economy, the trial court found him underemployed and imputed a higher income. Interestingly, his support was reduced because mother’s income had increased. Regardless, the father appealed. The appellate court found the trial court abused its discretion, vacated the support portions of the order, and remanded for further findings. The court noted the difficultly in determining income for a self-employed parent. The child support guidelines clearly lay out factors to determine if a parent is underemployed. The trial court’s statement about the father’s education, background, and the state of the economy didn’t address the required factors.