Mercer v. Chiarella (Tennessee 2021)

No. M2020-00602-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. App. 2021)
February 2021

The court of appeals will not consider issues of first impression on appeal. The divorce decree ordered the father pay child support. He filed to modify based on a decrease in his income. The father’s main source of income was interest on loans he made to other people. As the principal balance of the loans decreased, so did the amount of interest the father received. The court entered an order modifying support down based on his 2019 income. The mother appealed, arguing the father was underemployed, his income for the last two years should have been averaged, and the court should have included in the father ‘s income an amount for the reasonable return on investment with respect to the father’s assets.  The court of appeals upheld the order. The mother waived the issues of voluntary unemployment and averaging income because she had not brought them up during the underlying proceeding. She presented no evidence of the father’s assets. The court couldn’t have considered a reasonable rate of return without proof of his assets.