In re the Matter of: CAMILLE MORGAN AMADORE, Petitioner/Appellant,
STEVEN PAUL LIFGREN, Respondent/Appellee.
from the Superior Court in Maricopa County No. FC2013-050118
The Honorable Roy C. Whitehead, Judge
Berkshire Law Office PLLC, Tempe By Keith Berkshire, Erica
Gadberry Counsel for Petitioner/Appellant
Shumway, PLC, Mesa By Steven H. Everts
Co-Counsel for Respondent/Appellee The Sampair Group PLLC,
Glendale By Brandy M. Ramsay Co-Counsel for
Presiding Judge Michael J. Brown delivered the opinion of the
Court, in which Judge Maria Elena Cruz and Judge John C.
Gemmill joined. 
Camille Morgan Amadore ("Mother") appeals the
superior court's order modifying several provisions of
the marriage dissolution decree ending her marriage to Steven
Paul Lifgren ("Father"). For the following reasons,
we affirm the court's modification of child support and
termination of spousal maintenance. We also affirm the
court's denial of Mother's request that uncovered
medical payments be apportioned based on the parties'
incomes. We vacate, however, (1) the effective dates the
court applied for the child support modification and spousal
maintenance termination, (2) the court's reduction of
Father's monthly child support obligation as
reimbursement for his overpayments created by the retroactive
effective dates, and (3) the court's award of
attorneys' fees and costs to Father. We remand for
further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
Mother and Father married in 2000 and have three children.
Mother, who was not employed at the time, petitioned for
divorce in February 2013, ultimately resulting in a default
decree that ordered Father to pay (1) spousal maintenance of
$2, 000 per month indefinitely, and (2) consistent with the
parties' written agreement, child support of $3, 000 per
month, which was an upward deviation from the Child Support
Guidelines, Arizona Revised Statutes ("A.R.S.")
section 25-320 app. ("Guidelines").
Mother obtained a real estate license in May 2014. In
September, Father petitioned the superior court to modify the
decree, seeking joint legal decision-making, equal parenting
time, and modified child support. Mother counter-petitioned
to change the children's schools and modify parenting
time based on her plans to move to a different community in
the greater Phoenix area. On October 20, 2015, before the
court ruled on the pending petitions, Father filed a petition
to modify spousal maintenance, alleging Mother had
"achieved an ability to be financially independent by
obtaining her [r]eal [e]state license." Father requested
that spousal maintenance be terminated or, in the
alternative, significantly reduced. On November 9, 2015,
Mother accepted a job (unrelated to her real estate license)
as a sales coordinator earning an annual salary of $42, 500.
After a June 2016 evidentiary hearing on the petitions, the
superior court modified the decree by (1) reducing child
support to an amount resulting from application of the
Guidelines, and (2) terminating spousal maintenance.
Consistent with statutory presumptions, the court made the
changes effective as of the first day of the month after the
filing of Father's respective petitions. To account for
the overpayments created by the changes, the court decided
that Father's monthly child support obligation would be
reduced to "$500 per month until Father's
overpayment [was] equalized/offset." The court ordered
each party responsible for half of the uncovered medical
expenses for the children and declined to award
attorneys' fees to either party. Mother filed a motion to
amend/motion for new trial, which the court denied, and
awarded Father attorneys' fees and costs incurred in
defending the motion. Mother timely appealed.
Spousal Maintenance and Child Support
An award of spousal maintenance or child support "may be
modified or terminated only on a showing of changed
circumstances that are substantial and continuing."
A.R.S. § 25-327(A). We review the superior court's
decision to modify a child support award for an abuse of
discretion, which occurs if the record is devoid of competent
evidence to support the decision. Jenkins v.
Jenkins, 215 Ariz. 35, 37, ¶ 8 (App. 2007). The
burden of showing changed circumstances is on the party
seeking modification. Id. at 39, ¶ 16. We
review de novo the court's interpretation and application
of statutes. Thomas v. Thomas, 203 Ariz. 34, 36,
¶ 7 (App. 2002).
Following the evidentiary hearing, the superior court (1)
adopted Father's child support worksheets, which
attributed $3, 541 in gross monthly income to Mother, and (2)
found that deviating from the Guidelines was not appropriate.
The court ordered the following monthly child support
obligations for Father: (1) $1, 288 from October 1, 2014, to
June 30, 2015; (2) $1, 338 from July 1, 2015, to October 31,
2015; and (3) $1, 430 from November 1, 2015, to the present.
The court also terminated the spousal maintenance award,
effective November 1, 2015.
Application of these effective dates resulted in overpayments
by Father of $31, 464 in child support and $14, 000 in
spousal maintenance. The court then ordered that going
forward, Father is obligated to pay a reduced amount of $500
per month in child support until he has recouped the
overpayments, without ...