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Autrey v. Autrey, S10F1806

*All courts mentioned are at the state level.

  • Final decree awarded primary physical custody to Wife, ordered Husband to pay child support based on Husband’s income of $12,500. 
  • Wife filed in Gwinnett in October 2008, Husband served two days later at marital residence in Gwinnet, where parties had lived for 20 years.  Husband asserted his domicile and primary residence was in Cobb, where he had rented an apartment since May 2008.  Husband obtained new driver’s license and voting registration card in Cobb County in August 2008.  Water and utilities were not turned on at Cobb County apartment until just prior to filing of divorce action in October.
  • Trial court found Husband’s residence to be in Gwinnett during six months prior to filing, based on evidence he continued to reside there and maintained possessions there until served.  Supreme Court will not overturn finding of fact as to residence if there is “any evidence” to support it.
  • Husband claimed trial court’s finding that his monthly income was $12,500 was erroneous.  Supreme Court will not disturb factual findings unless clearly erroneous and will give due deference to trial court’s judgment of credibility of witnesses. Evidence of earnings (including Husband’s own DRFA showing $150,000 annual income), showed trial court’s findings were not clearly erroneous and were “within the range of evidence provided to the trial court.”
  • Trial court had authority to make an upward deviation in child support by $907.91 for extraordinary educational, medical, and extracurricular needs.  Trial court also showed how presumptive amount would be unjust and deviation served children’s best interest.
  • No “clear abuse of discretion” in trial court’s award of primary physical custody to Wife.