from Madison Circuit Court (DR-05-1067.01).
W. Lambert, Huntsville, for appellant.
Milburn Gross, Jr., Huntsville, for appellee.
Keith Rippey ("the father") appeals from a judgment
entered by the Madison Circuit Court ("the trial
court") to the extent that it determined the amount of
past-due child support he owes Heidi Mae Rippey ("the
mother"). We reverse the trial court's judgment.
and Procedural History
trial court entered a judgment on March 3, 2006, divorcing
the father and the mother. In that judgment, the father was
ordered to begin paying the mother monthly child support in
the amount of $141 on April 1, 2006.
August 30, 2016, the mother filed a complaint seeking a
modification of the parties' divorce judgment,
requesting, among other things, a modification of the
father's monthly child-support obligation; she also
requested that the trial court hold the father in contempt
for failing to pay child support.
trial, the mother testified that the father had not paid any
child support until the child began school in 2009. She
testified that she did not have any records of what
child-support payments the father had or had not made from
the time the child started school in 2009 through 2012 and
that she could not be certain how much he had paid during
that period. She testified, however, that the father had not
paid child support "that often" during that period.
In calculating the father's child-support arrearage, the
mother assumed that the father had paid no child support from
the time that the child started school in 2009 through 2012.
The mother did, however, introduce records of the
child-support payments made by the father beginning in 2013,
and she used those records to calculate the amount she was
claiming the father owed her for past-due child support.
father testified that he had money orders showing that he had
paid child support in the amounts of $760 in 2010, $920 in
2011, $1,825 in 2012, $1,250 in 2013, $605 in 2014, $935 in
2015, and $605 in 2016.
trial, the trial court entered a judgment on August 10, 2017,
that, in pertinent part, found the father "in arrears in
his payment of child support in the following amounts:
principal in the amount of $8,072.00 with interest accruing
at 12% of $9,232.93 and principal in the amount of $8,449.00
with interest accru[ing] at 7.5% of $1,985.74 as of August 1,
2017." The trial court entered a judgment against the
father in the amount of $27,739.67. We note that all the
amounts determined by the trial court to be owed by the
father for past-due child support and interest are identical
to the amounts calculated and testified to by the mother.
September 7, 2017, the father filed an answer and a request
for visitation; he also filed a postjudgment motion that same
day. On October 11, 2017, the
parties filed a written consent to extend the time to rule on
the father's postjudgment motion to December 20, 2017;
however, because the trial court failed to rule on the
father's postjudgment motion on or before December 20,
2017, the father's postjudgment motion was deemed denied
by operation of law on that date. Rule 59.1, Ala. ...