In re the Marriage of: Lucas Alexander WOYTON, Petitioner/Appellant,
Ticiane WARD, Respondent/Appellee.
from the Superior Court in Yuma County, No.
S1400-DO-2017-00838, The Honorable John Paul Plante, Judge.
REVERSED AND REMANDED
Berkshire Law Office, PLLC, Tempe, By Keith Berkshire, Erica
Gadberry, Counsel for Petitioner/Appellant
Law Group, PLLC, Phoenix, By Lisa A. Whalen, Counsel for
Jennifer M. Perkins delivered the opinion of the Court, in
which Presiding Judge Samuel A. Thumma and Judge Paul J.
Lucas Woyton ("Father") appeals the trial court’s
parenting time and child support orders in its decree of
dissolution. Father argues the court erred by improperly
considering the factors in A.R.S. � 25-403. Father also
contends the court erred by failing to consider the factors
set forth in A.R.S. � 25-408 relating to the relocation of a
child. Finally, Father argues the court erred in making
evidentiary rulings and in its child support calculation. We
hold that A.R.S. � 25-408 applies to parenting plans that
necessarily relocate the child out of state, over the other
parent’s objection, whether entered as part of a dissolution
decree or a post-decree modification. For these reasons and
those that follow, we reverse and remand.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Father and Ticiane Ward ("Mother") married in
August 2015 and have one child, born in 2016. Father and
Mother serve, or have served, in the military and lived in
Yuma with their child for at least six months before Father
filed for legal separation. In early June 2017, Mother left
Massachusetts with the child without Father’s consent. Two
days later, Father filed a petition for legal separation and
motion for emergency temporary orders without notice. Based
on Father’s allegations, the court granted Father’s motion
the day it was filed and awarded him sole legal
decision-making on a temporary basis. The court also
temporarily ordered primary parenting time to Father and
allowed Mother supervised visitation in Yuma. Around the same
time, a Massachusetts court granted Mother and the child an
order of protection against Father. Father then petitioned
the Arizona court seeking an order directing law enforcement
to return the child to Arizona. Father traveled to
Massachusetts and successfully requested that a local court
enforce a custody warrant. While he was in Massachusetts, law
enforcement took custody of the child and the court later
released her to Father’s care.
In Arizona, Mother filed a petition for dissolution,
responded to Father’s petition for legal separation and
challenged the temporary orders. The court held a three-day
temporary orders hearing ending in September 2017 and
modified the temporary orders to grant joint legal
decision-making, with Father as the temporary primary
residential parent in Arizona. The court also granted Mother
additional parenting time.
After a February 2018 dissolution trial, the court awarded
Mother and Father joint legal decision-making. The court
further ordered that Mother, still living in Boston, be the
child’s primary residential parent and awarded Father
parenting time. The ...