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Jones v. Jones

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division III

November 5, 2014

BERT R. JONES, JR., APPELLANT
v.
SONJA D. JONES, APPELLEE

APPEAL FROM THE WASHINGTON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. NO. DR-12-1532. HONORABLE JOANNA TAYLOR, JUDGE.

Gregory Klebanoff, for appellant.

Rhoads Law Firm, by: Johnnie Emberton Rhoads, for appellee.

DAVID M. GLOVER, Judge. VAUGHT and WOOD, JJ., agree.

OPINION

Page 600

DAVID M. GLOVER, Judge

The issues in this appeal concern the amount of alimony the Washington County Circuit Court ordered appellant Bert R. Jones, Jr., to pay his ex-wife, appellee Sonja Jones. We affirm the circuit court's decision.

Bert and Sonja were divorced by decree entered on July 2, 2013.[1] Bert was not present at the divorce hearing. Thus, at the time the decree was entered, the circuit court ordered Bert to pay temporary child support to Sonja in the amount of $1129 per month for three children and took the issues of permanent child support and alimony under advisement (because Bert had failed to provide information concerning his income, and the circuit court did not have sufficient information at that time to make rulings on those issues).

A subsequent hearing for the purpose of determining final child support and alimony was held on July 3, 2013. In an order filed August 13, 2013, the circuit court found that Bert's monthly income for child-support purposes was $5,461, and his monthly child-support obligation for two children (the parties' son had turned eighteen and graduated from high school since the last hearing) was set at $1,080 per month. The order stated that when the parties' second child turned eighteen or graduated from high school, child support would be reduced to $787.81, and child support would cease when the last child turned eighteen or graduated from high school.

The trial court also addressed the issue of alimony in the order, reciting the proper factors to be considered when making such an award. The trial court found that Bert's monthly net income was $5,461, while Sonja, who was a high-school graduate, making $13 per hour, had a monthly net income of $1,690. Sonja's job was found by the circuit court to be the highest and best use of her talents and resources at the time. The circuit court noted that the parties had been married for eighteen years and were both healthy, but had no savings or real property, and that Sonja's $1,690 monthly income would not support her monthly expenses of $3,388, even with the additional $1,080 per month she would receive in child support. The circuit court found that, after child support, Bert had a disposable income of $4,381 per month, and after deducting his monthly expenses of $2,433, he had an ability to pay $1,948. Bert was ordered to pay Sonja alimony of $618 per month until the parties' older daughter turned eighteen or graduated from high school; at that time, when the child support decreased, Sonja's alimony would increase to $910.19 per month. Finally, when the parties' younger daughter turned eighteen or graduated from high school and child support terminated, the circuit court ordered Sonja's alimony to increase to $1,698 per month until Sonja remarries, dies, or the amount of alimony is modified by the trial court.

Bert appeals the trial court's order concerning the issue of alimony. He first argues that the trial court erred in entering an order increasing his alimony obligation

Page 601

proportionally each time his child support abates. He further argues that the trial court erred in ordering him to pay Sonja alimony for a punitive purpose. ...


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