Submitted: April 27, 2018
Below-Family Court of the State of Delaware in and for New
Castle County File No. CN04-09734 Petition No. 16-34608
VALIHURA, VAUGHN, and SEITZ, Justices.
T. VAUGHN, JR. JUSTICE
10th day of July 2018, upon consideration of the
parties' briefs and the record below, it appears to the
respondent-appellant, David Zachery ("the Father"),
has filed an appeal from the Family Court's decision,
dated October 27, 2017, affirming a Family Court
Commissioner's child support order. We find no error
or abuse of discretion in the Family Court's decision.
Accordingly, we affirm the Family Court's judgment.
The record reflects that, in 2006, the Family Court entered
an ancillary order awarding Faith Zachery ("the
Mother") alimony of $1, 150 per month once one party
left the marital home. Although the alimony order was
intended to be temporary until a child support order was
entered, neither parent applied for child support until 2016.
In October 2016, the Father stopped paying the $1, 150 in
monthly alimony because only one of the parties' three
children was still in high school, and gave the Mother a
check for $300.
November 2, 2016, the Division of Child Support Services
filed a petition on behalf of the Mother against the Father
for support of the parents' only remaining minor child,
who was born in March 2000. A mediation was scheduled for
April 4, 2017. After the parties were unable to reach an
agreement at the mediation, a Family Court Commissioner
issued an interim new support order, dated April 24, 2017,
requiring the Father to pay $1, 461 per month for child
hearing on the child support petition was scheduled for
August 3, 2017. A Family Court Commissioner entered a
permanent support order, dated August 14, 2017, requiring the
Father to pay, effective November 3, 2016, $1, 605.00 plus
$45.00 per month in arrears/retroactive support for child
support. The order also allocated cash medical support 71% to
the Father, 29% to the Mother.
The Father requested review of the Commissioner's order.
On October 27, 2017, the Family Court affirmed the
Commissioner's order. This appeal followed.
This Court reviews the Family Court's factual and legal
determinations as well as its inferences and
deductions. We will not disturb the Family Court's
rulings on appeal if the court's findings of fact are
supported by the record and its explanations, deductions, and
inferences are the product of an orderly and logical
reasoning process. We review legal rulings de
novo. If the Family Court correctly applied the
law, then our standard of review is abuse of
Father's arguments on appeal may be summarized as
follows: (i) the Family Court erred in calculating his wages
for purposes of his child support obligation based on
Department of Labor figures, instead of pay records the
Father provided; (ii) the Family Court's calculation of
his child support obligation was erroneous because
parents' financial obligations and medical support for a
child must be equal under 13 Del. C. §§
501 and 701; (iii) the Family Court should not have applied
the Melson formula to calculate his support
obligation; (iv) the Family Court violated his rights to due
process and equal protection by failing to appoint counsel to
represent him; and (v) the child support orders, including
the award of back support, violated his constitutional rights
under the Eighth, Thirteenth, and Fourteenth Amendments of
the United States Constitution.
calculating the Father's wages, the Family Court
Commissioner relied upon Department of Labor figures instead
of pay records provided by the Father. Although the Mother
provided pay stubs from July 2017, her 2016 tax return and
her 2016 W-2 as directed by the notice for the August 3, 2017
hearing, the Father only provided records of his pay in July
2017, which showed wages of $1, 002 per week. The Father
claimed he could not find his W-2s from 2016 or 2015, and had
not filed his taxes in two years.
Father did not dispute, however, that he made $152, 473 in
2015 and close to that in 2016. The Father worked overtime
for most of his career after the children were born.
Department of Labor figures showed that the Father earned
$34, 765 in the third quarter of 2016, $36, 951 in the fourth
quarter of 2016, and $49, 076 in the first quarter of 2017.
Based on those figures, the Commissioner calculated the
Father's monthly wages as $13, 421.
The Family Court did not err in accepting the
Commissioner's reliance on the Department of Labor
figures instead of the weekly pay records provided by the
Father. The Department of Labor figures are consistent with
the amount the Father admitted to earning in 2016. The Father
failed to provide his 2016 W-2 and tax return. The pay
records that the Father did provide did not show his
year-to-date income, overtime, or shift differential. As the
Family Court concluded, it appears that the Father may
"have intentionally attempted to provide evidence of an
income less than his actual ...