Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division, Department B
Not for Publication – Rule 28, Arizona Rules of Civil Appellate Procedure
Appeal from the Superior Court in Maricopa County Cause Nos. FC2007-008371. The Honorable Christopher T. Whitten, Judge The Honorable Veronica W. Brame, Judge Pro Tempore.
VACATED AND REMANDED McCulloch Law Offices Tempe by Diana McCulloch Attorney for Petitioner/Appellant
Thomas A. Miller Phoenix Appellee In Propria Persona
¶1 The family court fairly noted that this case involves a "tangled web" of filings. In this consolidated appeal, Danette Miller (Mother) challenges post-decree rulings denying her objection to an arrears calculation for a Texas judgment against Thomas A. Miller (Father) and denying requests for attorneys' fees and costs. For the reasons set forth below, the orders are vacated and the matter remanded for further proceedings.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
I. Objection To Arrears Calculation.
¶2 The parties' divorce decree issued in July 2009. By late 2010, the State appeared pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) § 25-509 and filed an arrears calculation. Mother objected that the State's calculation did not include interest on a Texas child support judgment against Father, as authorized by Texas law. The merits of that objection have never been addressed.
¶3 At a February 2012 evidentiary hearing, the superior court ruled that any motions not yet decided were denied as untimely. In May 2012, the State filed an updated arrears calculation. In June 2012, Mother objected that the State's updated arrears calculation did not include interest on a Texas child support judgment against Father, as authorized by Texas law. In August 2012, a Title IV-D commissioner found the superior court denied Mother's objection to the arrears calculation at the February 2012 evidentiary hearing and, therefore, "den[ied] the request regarding the issue of the State's arrears calculation."
II. First Request For Attorneys' Fees And Costs.
¶4 At the February 2012 evidentiary hearing, the superior court (1) denied Father's petition to modify spousal maintenance and child support; (2) granted Mother's petition to enforce support and maintenance; (3) found Father owed past due support, maintenance and medical expenses totaling nearly $70, 000 ($52, 000 of which was maintenance) and (4) held Father in contempt for failing to pay medical expenses. Mother filed a timely motion for $29, 537.50 in attorneys' fees and $625 in costs incurred in enforcing those obligations, Father opposed the motion and the court summarily denied Mother's motion.
III. Second Request For Attorneys' Fees And Costs.
¶5 In June 2012, the IV-D commissioner found Father was in contempt for failing to pay support and maintenance. Noting Mother's oral request for attorneys' fees, the commissioner directed Mother to make a written request. Mother filed a timely motion for $3, 500 in attorneys' fees and $141 in costs incurred in enforcing those obligations, Father did ...