Kelley v. Zitzelberger (Mississippi 2022)

No. 2021-CA-00119-COA (Miss. Ct. App. 2022)
June 2022

To modify a child support order, a parent must show a material change of circumstances that was unforeseen at the time of the original order. The father retired from the military and requested a modification of child support. The parents had orally agreed to reduce support and that the father would pay for certain expenses. The father wanted to offset the expenses with his arrears. The chancery court denied his request and entered a judgment for arrears. The appellate court affirmed. The father’s retirement didn’t justify a modification. He showed no proof that he couldn’t work and earn income similar to his active duty pay. The father and his new wife had expenses that clearly exceeded the father’s retirement income. While the chancery court couldn’t use the wife’ income to calculate support, it could consider her contribution to the household, which was significant. Any oral agreement between the parents to reduce support was unenforceable and the father couldn’t receive credit for expenses paid outside the court order.