Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In re Mitton

Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division

April 11, 2017

In re the Matter of: JUSTIN TAIT MITTON, Petitioner/Appellant,
v.
CANDICE H. MITTON, Respondent/Appellee.

         Appeal from the Superior Court in Maricopa County No. FC2012-000532 The Honorable Pamela Hearn Svoboda, Judge

          Ellsworth Family Law P.C., Mesa By Glenn D. Halterman Counsel for Petitioner/Appellant

          Bowman and Brooke LLP, Phoenix By Travis M. Wheeler, Amanda E. Heitz Counsel for Respondent/Appellee

          Presiding Judge Samuel A. Thumma delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Judge Randall M. Howe and Judge Patricia A. Orozco [1] joined.

          OPINION

          THUMMA, Judge.

         ¶1 Justin Mitton (Father) appeals from the superior court's post- decree order modifying child support. Because child support was improperly calculated, the order is vacated and the issue of child support is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2 Candice Mitton (Mother) and Father divorced by consent decree entered in 2013. The decree provided Mother and Father equal parenting time with their children, with Father paying Mother child support. Mother and Father currently have three minor children: a daughter, who is 17, and twin boys, who are 10.

         ¶3 Father later filed a petition to modify child support, which was addressed at an August 2015 evidentiary hearing. Mother and Father testified that, with their consent, their daughter was living with Mother full time, while the twins continued to have equal time with each parent. Because their daughter was living with Mother full time, Mother argued that Father needed to pay more child support. The court took the matter under advisement and directed counsel to file child support worksheets setting forth their positions. Mother filed two worksheets (one for their daughter living solely with Mother and one for the twins reflecting equal parenting time with Mother and Father). Father timely objected, arguing Mother's worksheets overstated his child support obligation, and filed competing worksheets, including a combined worksheet for all three children. In a subsequent ruling, the court set child support in an amount calculated by adding together the two worksheets Mother had filed.

         ¶4 This court has jurisdiction over Father's timely appeal from that ruling pursuant to Article 6, Section 9, of the Arizona Constitution and Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) sections 12-120.21(A)(1) and -2101(A)(1) (2017).[2]

         DISCUSSION[3]

         ¶5 Father argues the superior court's method of combining two separate child support worksheets "was not consistent with the Guidelines and resulted in a support award that far exceeded what is contemplated by the Guidelines." This method, Father argues, resulted in a "clearly disproportionate increase" in his child support obligation. Father argues this method ignores that the Guidelines account for "the fact that some of the expenses associated with supporting a single child (such as providing housing) do not increase in equal proportion to the number of children in a family."

         ¶6 Mother counters that the superior court did not err, citing an example in section 16 of the Guidelines, titled "Multiple Children, Divided Custody, " that uses separate worksheets and treats each child as an only child. See A.R.S. § 25-320 Appendix § 16. The example, however, assumes each parent has sole custody of at least one child-which is not the case here-making section 16 inapplicable.

         ¶7 How the Guidelines approach child support for unusual parenting time arrangements is a matter of law subject to de novo review. Hetherington v. Hetherington, 220 Ariz. 16, 21 ¶ 21 (App. 2008). The Guidelines are based on an "income shares model" in determining child support. Nash v. Nash,232 Ariz. 473, 476 ΒΆ 7 (App. 2013). The income shares model "is based on two principles: (1) 'The total child support amount approximates the amount that would have been spent on the children if the parents and children were living together, ' and (2) 'Each ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.