Scott v. ScottAnnotate this Case
This case involved Husband Stephen Turner Scott's challenge to the trial court's final child support order entered in the divorce action initiated by Wife Amanda Kay Scott. At the time of the final bench trial in the parties' divorce case, Husband had ceased being a self-employed farmer, as he had been at the time the trial court entered the temporary child support order, and he had started working as an employee of his parents' farming business. He had also moved into a house owned by his parents. Husband's gross monthly income was $5,299.39. This figure consisted of a finding that Husband earned $2,166.67 in monthly wages, along with monthly fringe benefits as follows: $1,177.40 for the use of a 2011 Ford F-250 truck provided by his employer/parents; $100.00 for automobile insurance premiums; $400.00 for gasoline; $30.32 for the monthly average ad valorem tax and registration payments for the truck; $1,000.00 for the use of a house belonging to his parents; $350.00 for the power bill paid by his parents; and $75.00 for a cellular telephone they provided to him. The Supreme Court granted Husband's discretionary appeal to consider whether the trial court erred in its determination of fringe benefits available to Husband for purposes of calculating his gross monthly income. After review, the Court reversed the child support award to the extent it improperly added $1,000.00 per month for use of the house and $350.00 per month for payment of Husband's power bill to his gross monthly income as fringe benefits of his employment. Upon remand, however, the trial court could consider the value of these benefits as grounds for a nonspecific deviation from the presumptive amount of child support due from Husband as permitted by OCGA 19-6-15 (i)(3), after making findings required by OCGA 19-6-15 (i)(1)(B) that take into consideration the respective circumstances of the parents and the best interests of the children.