Nicholson v. Lewis, 1166

Decision Date12 April 1988
Docket NumberNo. 1166,1166
Citation295 S.C. 434,369 S.E.2d 649
CourtSouth Carolina Court of Appeals
PartiesCarol G. NICHOLSON and Deborah Lee Lewis, Respondents, v. Daniel T. LEWIS, Jr., Appellant. . Heard

Robert Marshall Jones, Rock Hill, for appellant.

George W. Speedy, Camden, for respondents.

SHAW, Judge:

Respondents, Carol G. Nicholson and Deborah Lee Lewis, commenced this action in family court against appellant, Daniel T. Lewis. From an order granting Mrs. Nicholson's request for an increase in child support and requiring Mr. Lewis to pay one-half of Deborah's college expenses, Mr. Lewis appeals. We affirm.

Mrs. Nicholson and Mr. Lewis were divorced in 1980. They have three children, two of whom live with Mrs. Nicholson. The oldest child, Daniel, is emancipated. At the time of the hearing, their daughter, Deborah, was 18 years of age and was attending Winthrop College while living at home with her mother, her 14 year old brother Charles, and her stepfather. Mr. Lewis was paying a total of $50.00 per week child support for Deborah and Daniel plus $30.00 per month to reimburse Mrs. Nicholson for health insurance carried on the children. Mrs. Nicholson sought an increase in child support for Charles, and Deborah sought to require Mr. Lewis to contribute towards her educational expenses. Following a hearing, the trial judge ordered Mr. Lewis to pay support for Charles in the amount of $50.00 per week and to pay $342.60 per month for one-half of Deborah's educational expenses.

Mr. Lewis contends the trial judge abused his discretion in increasing the child support from $50.00 per week for two children to $50.00 per week for one child. He argues there is no substantial change warranting such an increase. He further contends there was no evidence he had the ability to pay such an increase.

The issue of child support is subject to the continuing review of the family court. Stevenson v. Stevenson, 276 S.C. 475, 279 S.E.2d 616 (1981). Child support may be modified upon a proper showing of a change in either the child's needs or the supporting parent's financial ability. Calvert v. Calvert, 287 S.C. 130, 336 S.E.2d 884 (Ct.App.1985). The amount of child support awarded is within the sound discretion of the trial judge whose decision will not be disturbed on appeal absent an abuse of discretion. Millis v. Millis, 282 S.C. 610, 320 S.E.2d 66 (Ct.App.1984).

In the instant case, the record reflects a substantial change in the needs of Charles. At the time of the divorce, Charles was only 6 years old, but had reached the age of 14 at the time of the hearing on this matter. Mrs. Nicholson testified to an increase in expenses for Charles' food, clothes, school and social activities. See Campbell v. McPherson, 268 S.C. 444, 234 S.E.2d 774 (1977) and Fender v. Fender, 256 S.C. 399, 182 S.E.2d 755 (1971).

Further, § 20-7-40 of the South Carolina Code of Laws (1981) provides as follows:

A husband or wife declared to be chargeable with the support of his or her spouse and children, if possessed of sufficient means or able to earn such means, may be required to pay for their support a fair and reasonable sum according to his or her means, as may be determined by the court. (emphasis added)

The trial judge noted and the record reveals Mr. Lewis was evasive to questions dealing with his financial condition and failed to report income and other assets in a deliberate attempt to avoid payment of child support obligations. He concluded Mr. Lewis is capable of earning in excess of $24,000 per year, having the skill necessary to make such income. The record sufficiently supports the findings of the trial judge and we therefore hold he committed no error in increasing the amount of child support for Charles.

Mr. Lewis also contends the trial judge erred in ordering him to pay one-half of the college expenses of Deborah. He argues the trial judge failed to consider Deborah's ability to finance her own education. He also contends there is no evidence he has the ability to pay for such.

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6 cases
  • Lacke v. Lacke
    • United States
    • South Carolina Court of Appeals
    • January 10, 2005 for these expenses is sought through the family courts. Id. at 391, 313 S.E.2d at 33-34. See generally Nicholson v. Lewis, 295 S.C. 434, 369 S.E.2d 649 (Ct.App.1988) (finding trial court properly required father to pay a portion of daughter's remaining educational expenses where dau......
  • McDuffie v. McDuffie
    • United States
    • South Carolina Court of Appeals
    • April 13, 1992
    ...expenses, a daughter who sought her father's assistance to pay for college worked part-time and borrowed money); Nicholson v. Lewis, 295 S.C. 434, 369 S.E.2d 649 (Ct.App.1988) (a father was ordered to pay one-half his daughter's college expenses where the daughter worked full time in the su......
  • Kirsch v. Kirsch
    • United States
    • South Carolina Court of Appeals
    • June 12, 1989
    ...Hughes, 280 S.C. 388, 313 S.E.2d 32 (Ct.App.1984); Wagner v. Wagner, 285 S.C. 430, 329 S.E.2d 788 (Ct.App.1985); Nicholson v. Lewis, 295 S.C. 434, 369 S.E.2d 649 (Ct.App.1988). We fail to find evidence in the record to support the conclusion the son cannot attend college without the financi......
  • Bull v. Smith
    • United States
    • South Carolina Supreme Court
    • June 9, 1989
    ...of grants and loans; and (6) the ability of the child to earn income during the school year or on vacation. Nicholson v. Lewis, 295 S.C. 434, 369 S.E.2d 649 (Ct.App.1988). The Family Court's Order That the oldest child has been admitted to Midland Technical College in a two year Secretarial......
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