Dillon v. Miller

Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County Case No. 02-P-13-9197 REPORTED IN THE COURT OF SPECIAL APPEALS OF MARYLAND No. 901 September Term, 2016 _________________________ RICARDO DILLON v. LYNITA MILLER, et al. _________________________ Graeff, Friedman, Raker, Irma S. (Senior Judge, Specially Assigned), JJ. _________________________ Opinion by Friedman, J. _________________________ Filed: September 29, 2017 This appeal concerns Appellant Ricardo Dillon’s failure to pay child support to Appellee Lynita Miller, for their daughter S. The Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County, based on the Report and Recommendations of a family law Magistrate, found that Dillon was voluntarily impoverished and imputed income to him at a level consistent with him earning the federal minimum wage. Dillon raises two challenges to the circuit court’s ruling. Dillon argues that the circuit court erred: (1) when it accepted facts found by the Magistrate; and (2) when it found that he was voluntarily impoverished and imputed minimum wage income to him. For the reasons explained below, we affirm the circuit court. BACKGROUND Ricardo Dillon and Lynita Miller are the parents of now 6-year-old Sivani Miller. Dillon and Miller were never married and never resided in the same household. Sivani has lived exclusively with Miller since birth. Miller, through the Anne Arundel County Office of Child Support Enforcement, filed a Complaint for Support. A Magistrate in the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County held a hearing. After taking testimony from both Dillon and Miller, the Magistrate recommended that Dillon pay child support to Miller in the amount of $535 per month. Dillon then filed timely exceptions to the Report and Recommendations of the Magistrate. The Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County granted Dillon’s exceptions and remanded the case to the Magistrate to make further factual findings. Specifically, the circuit court directed the Magistrate to allow Dillon to cross-examine Miller, and also permitted the Magistrate to receive additional testimony from both parties at his discretion. The Magistrate conducted the second hearing in June 2016. Both Dillon and Miller testified and were subject to cross-examination. Importantly, Dillon testified at this second hearing that he had completed high school in Jamaica, that he had worked in construction in Jamaica, and that he had no mental or physical limitations that prevented him from working. He also testified that he was not permitted to work in the United States because of his immigration status and, therefore, found it difficult to obtain consistent work. He testified, though, that he “[tries] to get work when [he] can.” He testified, somewhat unclearly, that he could not return to Jamaica to work because it may affect his immigration status and visa application. Finally, he testified that he is married to another woman in the United States, that in addition to Sivani—who Dillon has with Miller—he also has three other children from three different women, and that his wife and family members help support him and his three other children. The Magistrate, in his Report and Recommendations, made the following findings of fact: (1) Miller is employed full-time and ...

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