Foy v. Kite (North Carolina 2020)
In a child support case, if the record clearly supports the income calculation, an appellate court will not disturb the trial court’s determination. An order for retroactive child support must include findings as to the reasonableness of the expenses for which reimbursement is sought. The mother and father, who were not married, had one child. The mother filed a petition to establish support and for retroactive support. The mother had worked for the father’s business, a dog training and breeding operation, and testified about his business practices and income. The trial court calculated his income from the mother’s testimony, financial records, and adding back in an appropriate amount for rent. The trial court set support and entered a judgment for arrears. The father appealed. The appellate court upheld the calculation of the father’s income. The appellate court noted this wasn’t a situation of imputing income. The trial court properly analyzed the evidence and determined actual income. The order clearly contained a basis for the income decision. The appellate court reversed the amount of arrears. It found the trial court improperly included amounts for expenses incurred after the filing of the support petition. It also directed the trial court to enter findings as to the reasonableness of the expenses included in the award for retroactive support.