FROM THE SALINE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 63DR-11-1259]
HONORABLE ROBERT HERZFELD, JUDGE.
Young & Houston, PLLC, by: Brent Houston, for appellant.
& Kemp, PLLC, by: Angela Mann, for appellee.
RAYMOND R. ABRAMSON, Judge.
parties were divorced by decree of the Saline County Circuit
Court in 2012. Appellee Melissa Warner has custody of the
parties' daughter, S.W., who turned 18 years old in
February 2017. On August 21, 2017, Melissa filed a motion to
modify child support and to compel disclosure of income
information. S.W. had been diagnosed with neurocardiogenic
syncope, and Melissa sought to continue appellant Russell
Warner's support obligation past S.W.'s 19th
birthday. After a hearing, the circuit court found that child
support should continue and entered an order extending child
support past the age of majority. On appeal, Russell argues
that there was insufficient evidence to support the circuit
court's determination that the parties' adult child
suffered from a disability at the time of her majority when
it extended his obligation to continue to pay child support.
We disagree and affirm.
standard of review for an appeal from a child-support order
is de novo on the record, and we will not reverse a finding
of fact by the circuit court unless it is clearly erroneous.
Ward v. Doss, 361 Ark. 153, 205 S.W.3d 767 (2005). A
finding is clearly erroneous, even though there is evidence
to support it, if the reviewing court on the entire evidence
is left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake
has been committed. Deluca v. Stapleton, 79 Ark.App.
138, 84 S.W.3d 892 (2002). In reviewing a circuit court's
findings, we give due deference to that court's superior
position to determine the credibility of the witnesses and
the weight to be accorded to their testimony. Ward,
sole issue on appeal is whether the circuit court properly
ordered that support continue beyond the age of majority. The
custodial parent seeking continued support bears the burden
of proving that support should continue. Harris v.
Harris, 82 Ark.App. 321, 107 S.W.3d 897 (2003).
Code Annotated section 9-14-237 provides that:
(a)(1) Unless a court order for child support specifically
extends child support after these circumstances, an
obligor's duty to pay child support for a child shall
automatically terminate by operation of law:
(A) When the child reaches eighteen (18) years of age, unless
the child is still attending high school;
(B) If the child is still attending high school, upon the
child's high school graduation or the end of the school
year after the child reaches nineteen (19) years of age,
whichever is earlier.
Ark. Code Ann. § 9-14-237 (a)(1)(A), (B) (Repl. 2015).
parent ordinarily has no legal obligation to support a child
beyond age eighteen. However, a parent may have a duty to
provide continuing support to a child who is disabled upon
reaching her majority. See Elkins v. Elkins, 262
Ark. 63, 553 S.W.2d 34 (1977); Petty v. Petty, 252
Ark. 1032, 482 S.W.2d 119 (1972). Our supreme court
recognized in Petty that the onus of supporting the
disabled child should not be borne solely by one parent.
court stated in Guthrie v. Guthrie, 2015 ...