Thomas v. Thomas (Mississippi 2019)

No. 2017-CA-00175-COA (Miss. Ct. App. 2019)
June 2019

A parent is entitled to credit against monthly child support for Social Security benefits paid to a child because of a parent’s disability. The parent is also entitled to credit against arrears for a lump sum received after the arrears have accrued. The mother and father filed for divorce. To calculate support, the court determined the appropriate adjusted gross income, gave credit for visitation, and then subtracted the monthly benefit amount. The court granted credit for a lump sum against the father's arrears. Both parents appealed the final order on a number of grounds. Specific to child support, the mother argued that the father should not have been given credit for his social security benefits against monthly support and the arrears balance.  She argued for an exception to Mississippi caselaw for a parent who makes a substantial amount of money over his disability payment. The court of appeals upheld the credit against the monthly support obligation. The appellate court reversed the decision with respect to the arrears credit. It found the majority of the arrears accrued after the lump sum was received. Lump sums could only apply to arrears already accrued. The appellate court remanded the case so the credit could be properly allocated.