January 2023 | No. COA21-273 (N. C. Ct. App. 2022)

Price v. Price (North Carolina 2022)

Evidence must support the determination of a parent’s income. Income determinations will be reviewed de novo. The father appealed the final order in this modification action, arguing that he had no notice of the hearing and that the trial court erred in calculating his income. The father failed to appear at the hearing. To calculate the father’s income, the mother presented the father’s W-2 form with his annual wages, evidence of his receipt of short-term disability payments, and income from a business. The appellate court found he had proper notice of the hearing but that the evidence didn’t support the income determination. The father fired his attorney prior to an initial hearing and then didn’t appear. At the in-person initial hearing, the trial court announced a new hearing date in open court. The appellate court found this was constructive notice to the father. He had a duty to attend the initial hearing or ask about a new hearing date. The appellate court reviewed the income calculation de novo. As to his income, the appellate court found that taking the evidence of income presented at face value, the income calculation was wrong. It wasn’t added correctly and there was no other evidence to explain the amount. The child support provision was reversed and remanded for additional evidence.

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