FROM THE SALINE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 63DR-10-535]
HONORABLE ROBERT HERZFELD, JUDGE
Law, by: Kimberly Eden, for appellant.
F. VIRDEN, JUDGE
Melanie Fischer (Jaskiewicz) appeals from the Saline County
Circuit Court's order granting her petition to modify
child support. On appeal, Melanie argues that the trial court
erred in modifying child support based solely on appellee
Michael Fischer's affidavit of financial means (AFM),
which resulted in a "meager" increase in child
support, and that the trial court instead should have
averaged Michael's income over the last three or four
years. We find no error and affirm.
parties were married in October 1997 and divorced in May
2011. Melanie was awarded custody of their three children,
and Michael was ordered to pay $1, 703 biweekly child
support. On November 15, 2016, Melanie filed a
petition to modify child support, alleging that there had
been a material change in circumstances in that Michael's
income had increased. The trial court granted Melanie's
petition in part. She filed a motion for reconsideration,
which was deemed denied.
Administrative Order No. 10
determining an appropriate amount of child support, courts
are to refer to the most recent revision of the
family-support chart in Arkansas Supreme Court Administrative
Order Number 10, which provides a means of calculating child
support based on the payor's net income. Ark. Code Ann.
§ 9-12-312(a)(3)(A) (Repl. 2015). There is a rebuttable
presumption that the amount of child support contained in the
family-support chart is the correct amount of child support
to be awarded. Ark. Code Ann. § 9-12-312(a)(3)(B); Ark.
Sup. Ct. Admin. Order No. 10(I). "Income" means any
form of payment, periodic or otherwise, due to an individual,
regardless of source, including wages, salaries, commissions,
bonuses, workers' compensation, disability, payments
pursuant to a pension or retirement program, and interest
less proper deductions. Ark. Sup. Ct. Admin. Order No.
10(II)(a). The definition of "income" is
"intentionally broad and is designed to encompass the
widest range of sources consistent with this State's
policy to interpret 'income' broadly for the benefit
of the child." Id.; Evans v. Tillery,
361 Ark. 63, 70, 204 S.W.3d 547, 552 (2005) (quoting Ford
v. Ford, 347 Ark. 485, 495, 65 S.W.3d 432, 439 (2002)).
The affidavit of financial means shall be used in all
family-support matters. Ark. Sup. Ct. Admin. Order No.
Fischer testified that he is a doctor employed by Practice
Plus. He explained that he works as a hospitalist for Baptist
Hospital ("Baptist") in North Little Rock. He
stated that he is a W-2 employee and is paid biweekly but
that he also earns 1099 income from working for hospitals
other than Baptist. Michael stated that he sometimes receives
bonuses from Baptist depending on his collections for the
month but that he had "not really made a bonus from them
in a long time." He testified that, even though he had
not been ordered to do so, he had paid Melanie a portion of
his quarterly bonuses and 1099 income in 2015 and 2016
because "it was the right thing to do." Evidence of
those additional payments was submitted, including three
checks written to Melanie in 2015 totaling $7, 390 and three
checks written in 2016 totaling $5, 500.
also submitted federal income-tax returns, plus exhibits, for
2014, 2015, and 2016. His 2014 tax return, filed jointly with
his current spouse, reflected an adjusted gross annual income
of $373, 942, including a net profit of $1, 673 from his
chart-review business. His 2015 tax return, also filed
jointly with his spouse, showed an adjusted gross annual
income of $430, 550, including a net business profit of $43,
510 from his 1099 income. Michael's 2016 tax return,
filed separately from his spouse, showed an adjusted gross
annual income of $288, 487, including a net profit of $20,
827 from his 1099 income.
stated that his 1099 income had decreased because the
non-Baptist hospitals had "a full complement of
full-time hospitalists" and did not need him. Michael
said that his 2016 income was not as much as before because
(1) there was no extra work available, (2) there had been
"a decrease in reimbursements on my regular job,"
(3) given "the current situation with Medicare and
all," physicians are not being paid as much as in the
past, and (4) "Medicaid has had cuts over the
years." He insisted that he would have worked more if he
could have but that he could not.
AFM was introduced into evidence. It reflects gross wages per
pay period in the amount of $10, 128.74 and $3, 841.02 in
deductions, leaving him with a net biweekly income of $6,
287.72. Under a section entitled "Other Income,"
Michael wrote that another source was "other jobs"
and that the amount was $0 but "variable." He
testified that when he filled out the AFM, he had not done
any extra work but that he had since worked a couple of
nights at Saline Memorial Hospital, which is not owned by
Baptist. Michael attached to his AFM three pay stubs from
Baptist dated March 9 and 23, 2017, and April 6, 2017,
reflecting current total gross wages of $13, 128.74, $11,
928.74, and $10, 128.74, respectively. Michael explained that
the totals ...