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Henderson v. Smith

915 P.2d 6 (1996)

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Henderson v. Smith

Idaho Supreme Court

915 P.2d 6 (1996)

Facts

In 1981, Patricia Henderson (plaintiff) gave birth to a child. In 1992, Henderson petitioned the court for a determination that Vernon K. Smith (defendant) was the child’s biological father. At the time of the suit, Smith was an attorney who had been practicing in the area for over 20 years. The magistrate court ruled that Smith was the child’s biological father and ordered that he pay $373 per month in child support until the child reached age 18 or 19, depending on whether she pursued school. The court used the Idaho Child Support Guidelines (ICSG) to determine the appropriate child-support obligation, under which the obligation is based on the parent’s gross income from all revenue sources. Because no evidence of Smith’s monthly income was introduced, the court calculated the obligation by using the figure that Henderson had introduced, which was the average income of a local attorney with over 20 years of experience. The court determined that the average gross income was $3,500 per month and then ordered the monthly $373 obligation by deducting possible overhead and operating expenses. Smith appealed on the ground that the magistrate court had abused its discretion by basing the obligation on the average income of attorneys because no evidence was presented showing that Smith was earning this amount. The district court affirmed the magistrate court. Smith appealed to the Idaho Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (McDevitt, C.J.)

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