November 2019 | No M2019-00324-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. 2019)

Poole v. Kinslow (Tennessee 2019)

If a court finds a parent voluntarily underemployed, it may use the parent’s earning capacity to calculate child support. In this divorce action, the trial court calculated support using the father’s earning capacity. He was self-employed at the time of trial, but he had earned no income. The father appealed. The court of appeals affirmed. The appellate court found the evidence showed father had quit a steady paying job and then lost the subsequent job. He had the option to return to his first job, but he declined. Instead, he started his own business, for which he needed a contractor’s license. At the time of trial, the new business hadn’t generated any income and the father didn’t have the contractor’s license. The appellate court found his decision to quit the original job, and then decline to return was unreasonable in light of his child support obligation. The trial court considered his education and experience when setting his earning capacity.

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