Friday, April 12, 2024

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City manager sues ex-husband for more child support


Graham city manager Megan Garner has also filed a separate lawsuit in Alamance County civil district court to collect alleged outstanding child support payments from her ex-husband, Christopher L. Garner.

Megan Garner had previously filed a defamation lawsuit in Alamance County superior court in June against a town councilwoman in Rural Hall, where Garner had served as town manager until she became Graham city manager in November 2021 (see related story, this edition). Garner has two other lawsuits pending in Forsyth County court, which are related to her tenure as Rural Hall town manager.

Garner has filed a suit in Alamance County civil district court, seeking to modify her ex-husband’s monthly child support payments for the couple’s two children: a daughter, 10, and a son, 8, according to the court file.

Megan Garner was granted primary custody of the couple’s two children and ordered to pay $1,839 per month toward supporting her two children when the case was finalized in August 2016, according to documents included with the motion that has been filed in Alamance County district court. Christopher Garner was ordered to pay $501 in monthly child support.

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Those payments were calculated in June 2016 and based at the time on Megan Garner’s gross monthly income ($7,083.33) and Christopher Garner’s gross monthly income ($3,298.53), according to the court file. Megan Garner was living at 337 Moss Pink Drive in Vass at the time, according to the court file.

Megan Garner had been employed at the time as Anson County manager, according to The Anson Record. Court documents issued in the child support case in 2016 stated that Christopher Garner had been employed with the town of Southern Pines but did not list his job title.

Christopher Garner’s monthly child support payments were later increased several times to cover higher daycare expenses, healthcare costs, and unpaid back payments, according to orders previously entered by district court judges in Moore and Forsyth counties, which are included in the court file.

In February 2018, Christopher Garner’s monthly child support payments were increased from $501 to $750. He was also ordered to pay $1,245 in outstanding child support, at a rate of $30 per month until he was caught up, bringing his total monthly payment to $780. Both parents were ordered at that hearing in early 2018 to pay an equal share of their children’s healthcare expenses, while Megan Garner was ordered to provide health insurance for her two children, based on an amended order modifying child support Megan Garner was also required to provide health insurance coverage for her two children, based on an amended order entered by Moore County district court judge, James P. Hill, Jr., entered in mid-February 2018.

In November 2019, Megan Garner filed a motion for contempt against her ex-husband, who she claimed had refused to pay her $385.45 for his portion of the children’s uninsured healthcare expenses. She also filed a motion to transfer the case from Moore County to Forsyth County, where the children lived with their mother (who was employed as the Rural Hall town manager at the time) and where their healthcare providers were located. In her motion for the venue change, Megan Garner pointed out that Forsyth County is approximately two hours from Moore County and was therefore “a more convenient forum for the witnesses in this action.”

Christopher Garner ultimately consented to the venue change, at a Moore County family court hearing in December 2019, based on an order signed by Moore County district court judge Regina M. Joe, which stated that Megan Garner had intended to file a voluntary dismissal of her contempt motion against her ex-husband.

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Meanwhile, Christopher Garner was ordered to appear in Forsyth County district court in May of this year for a hearing on a new motion “to add arrears frequency” to the child support order. The motion to modify Christopher Garner’s monthly child support stated that, as of late February 2022, he owed an alleged outstanding balance of $641.77 in monthly child support.

Following the hearing in May, Forsyth County district court judge Valene K. McMasters granted Megan Garner’s motion for a venue change and also ordered Christopher Garner to pay $757.17 in back child support, based on an order that McMasters entered on June 2.

Megan Garner’s latest motion to modify the child support agreement is currently scheduled to be heard in Alamance County civil district court on September 9, based on a hearing notice that her attorney, Steven McRae of Graham, filed last week.

The court file lists Megan Garner’s address as 1431 Raspberry Run in Graham and Christopher Garner’s address as 101 Cabin Branch Drive in Carthage. It doesn’t indicate whether Christopher Garner remains employed with the town of Southern Pines.

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