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State v. Alexander

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit

November 5, 2014

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
KENDRICK ALEXANDER

APPEAL FROM THE SIXTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT, PARISH OF IBERIA, NO. 01-N-686. HONORABLE JAMES RAY MCCLELLAND, DISTRICT JUDGE.

Nicole Burke, Assistant District Attorney, Sixteenth Judicial District Court, New Iberia, LA, COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE: State of Louisiana.

La'Derical Wagner, Attorney at Law, Franklin, LA, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT: Kendrick Alexander.

Court composed of Jimmie C. Peters, Elizabeth A. Pickett, and Shannon J. Gremillion, Judges.

OPINION

Page 680

[14-615 La.App. 3 Cir. 1] GREMILLION, Judge.

The defendant, Kendrick Alexander, appeals the trial court's judgment obligating him to pay $461.00 per month in child support. For the following reasons, we affirm.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

In September 2001, the State of Louisiana brought an action for criminal neglect of family, in violation of La.R.S. 14:74, for Alexander's failure to pay child support for his minor child in necessitous circumstances. In August 2013, the State filed a motion to modify the previous order, seeking to calculate and add child support to the existing medical support. In November 2013, the hearing officer's joint obligation worksheet indicated a child support obligation owed by Alexander of $461.00 with payments to begin in December 2013.[1] Alexander appealed the hearing officer's recommendation. Following a February 2014 hearing, the trial court " accepted, approved and confirmed" the hearing officer's recommendation of $461.00 per month. Alexander now appeals and argues that the trial court " erred in allowing the Labor Guide to be used to determine [his] income without regard to self-employed expenses or his tax returns warranting a de novo review of his child support obligation."

DISCUSSION

Louisiana Revised Statutes 9:315 et seq. set forth the child support guidelines. The trial court is granted great deference in fixing a child support award, and its determination of a parent's gross monthly income and his/her credibility is subject to a manifest error review. Hagan v. Hagan, 10-1432 [14-615 La.App. 3 Cir. 2] (La.App. 3 Cir. 7/27/11), 70 So.3d 1081; State, Dep't of Soc. Servs. v. Swords, 08-580 (La.App. 3 Cir. 11/5/08), 996 So.2d 1267. The trial court has broad discretion in determining which figures are appropriate to use when calculating a parent's monthly gross income. Hagan, 70 So.3d 1081.

Page 681

Gross income is defined in La.R.S. 9:315 (C)(3) as:

(a) The income from any source, including but not limited to salaries, wages, commissions, bonuses, dividends, severance pay, pensions, interest, trust income, recurring monetary gifts, annuities, capital gains, social security benefits, workers' compensation benefits, basic and variable allowances for housing and subsistence from military pay and benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, disaster unemployment assistance received from the United States Department ...

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