Table of Contents
In the case of Lambesis vs. Lambesis, the parties were divorced in 2013. Father was ordered to pay Mother $100.00 per month in alimony to Mother.
Father subsequently filed a Petition to Modify Child Support requesting the court order Mother to pay him child support.
The mother requested a hearing on Father’s Petition to Modify Child Support and asked the court to increase Father’s child support to $123.00 per month.
An evidentiary hearing was held and the court increased Father’s child support obligation to $149.30 per month. Father filed a Motion for a New Trial arguing Mother did not disclose her financial documentation in a timely manner. He also argued the court’s erred in its’ child support calculations.
The court denied Father’s Motion for New Trial and ordered Father to pay Mother’s attorney fees incurred in the modification action. Father filed a Motion for Reconsideration, which was also denied. Father then appealed the trial court’s decision to the Arizona Court of Appeals.
Father filed his opening brief, Mother filed her response, and father filed his reply in the Arizona Court of Appeals addressing the issues on appeal. Mother, however, filed a Motion to Strike Father’s Reply Brief on the basis that it raised new issues not raised in Father’s opening brief.
The Arizona Court of Appeals agreed with Mother and ruled that it will not consider issues or evidence not raised in Father’s Opening Brief. Father’s Motion for a new trial was denied.
He contends this decision was in error due to Rule 83 of Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure, which he states would entitle him to “conduct a thorough review of the information brought forth”.
He argues he was not provided the opportunity to argue or “vet” any relevant information. He feels that as a result of these errors, the family court was led to assume the information presented was accurate when it was not. Prior to the evidentiary hearing, the parties met and agreed on what issues were in dispute: 1) Mother’s income and 2) Mother’s childcare costs.
Child Support Obligation is Affected by Childcare Expenses
Father states that the court should consider the full-time working potential of Mother without deducting work-related childcare costs.
His calculations of Mother’s gross monthly income is $5,950. The mother’s affidavit of financial information summarized her position and was received by Father in a timely manner.
On appeal, the record suggests that Mother did not fully comply with pretrial disclosure, as required by the court, and produced some information late.
Mother’s pay stubs were admitted into evidence at trial without objection from Father. They reflected her year-to-date income.
This late disclosure was not addressed at the hearing, nor was it cited in Father’s Motion for New Trial.
This issue was first raised on appeal, therefore the Court of Appeals of Arizona will not address Father’s argument that the late disclosure of these documents impaired Father’s ability to properly prepare and challenge Mother’s evidence regarding her income or the court’s findings based on her income.
As evidence of childcare costs, Mother provided checks written to the babysitter. Father objected, claiming this was not an accurate representation of Mother’s childcare costs. The family court admitted them as evidence stating the court would hear testimony from the parties on that issue.
The submission of Mother’s calculations (including childcare costs represented by the checks) was submitted days after the Affidavit of Financial Income was provided to Father. Father claimed he was not provided with enough time to figure out Mother’s position in relation to childcare costs.
He insisted there was no evidence to support her claimed childcare expenses. His arguments were addressed by the court and then advised that there was evidence on the record indicating that Mother did work on the days she claimed childcare expenses.
The Burden of Proof Falls on the Individual Seeking to Modify Child Support
The court came to the conclusion that as Father filed the request for modification, he bears the burden of proof. They invited him to ask additional questions, to which Father replied that he had childcare expenses as well.
The court explained that as Father’s childcare costs were not included in the position statement at the beginning of the hearing and agreed upon as an item in dispute, they were not something before the court.
In contradiction to the court’s ruling, Father proceeded to testify that he had $3,000 in childcare costs in 2013 during the couples’ separation. The court reminded him that his childcare expenses were not currently a contested issue to be considered.
After considering the evidence, the court defined Mother’s monthly income as $5,443.17. After excluding three checks as non-work related childcare, the childcare expenses were determined as $168.30 per month. No findings were made regarding Father’s childcare expenses.
Using the Child Support Worksheet, the court found Father’s child support obligation to be $149.30 per month. In Father’s Motion for New Trial, he argued that the court’s calculations were incorrect.
He also argued regarding the spirit of fairness of considering Mother’s childcare costs while disregarding Father’s testimony of his own childcare costs in 2013, 2014 and 2015 (of which there is no evidence of him paying).
As no new evidence was presented on appeal, The Arizona Court of Appeals relied upon the family court’s examination of existing evidence regarding Father’s claims that late disclosure left him without adequate time to prepare.
The Arizona Court of Appeals finds that the family court did not abuse its discretion in not considering childcare expenses of which there was no evidence.
They also found that as the presented evidence supported the family court’s determination of Mother’s childcare expenses, the appeals court upholds the family court’s denial of Father’s Motion for New Trial.
The appeals court also upholds the award of attorney fees to Mother finding that the family court acted within its discretion in determining financial disparity and reasonableness of the parties’ positions.
In requesting the allocation of parenting coordinator fees consistent with child support percentages, the family court agreed with Mother’s argument that the “discretionary credit” for the support of Father’s infant son with his current wife should be considered when allocating parenting coordinator fees as Father lives with the infant’s mother, who contributes to the support of Father’s new child, but whose income is not included or considered as a part of the child support worksheet.
Father argued that the court was not using “updated” financial information and that the allocation should be proportionate to incomes. A.R.S. Section 25-406(B) states that costs for court-ordered parenting coordinators be allocated based on “financial circumstances” of the parties. The family court has discretion in determining the allocation of fees between the involved parties.
The Court of Appeals of Arizona finds that the family court did not abuse its discretion in this matter. Mother was awarded her attorney’s fees on appeal. The Arizona Court of Appeals affirmed the family court’s award of attorney’s fees to Mother, the award of child support, denial of Motion for New Trial, and allocation of parenting coordinator fees.
If you have questions about the burden of proof modifying a child support case in an Arizona divorce, you should seriously consider contacting the attorneys at Hildebrand Law, PC. Our Arizona child support and family law attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience successfully representing clients in child support and family law cases.
Our family law firm has earned numerous awards such as US News and World Reports Best Arizona Family Law Firm, US News and World Report Best Divorce Attorneys, “Best of the Valley” by Arizona Foothills readers, and “Best Arizona Divorce Law Firms” by North Scottsdale Magazine.
Call us today at (480)305-8300 or reach out to us through our appointment scheduling form to schedule your personalized consultation and turn your Arizona child support or family law case around today.
Other Articles About Child Support in Arizona
- ARIZONA CHILD SUPPORT LAWS
- ARIZONA UNIFORM INTERSTATE FAMILY SUPPORT ACT (UIFSA) STATUTES
- ATTRIBUTING INCOME FOR CHILD SUPPORT IN ARIZONA
- DIVIDING UNCOVERED MEDICAL EXPENSES IN AN ARIZONA CHILD SUPPORT CASE
- THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CHILD SUPPORT AND DEBTS IN ARIZONA
- THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO CHILD SUPPORT IN ARIZONA
- DUE PROCESS REQUIRES NOTICE OF A CHILD SUPPORT MODIFICATION
- CHILD SUPPORT DEVIATION IN ARIZONA
- IS AN INCREASE IN INCOME CAUSE TO MODIFY CHILD SUPPORT IN ARIZONA
- CHILD SUPPORT AND ASSETS IN ARIZONA
- EFFECT OF EMPLOYMENT BENEFITS ON CHILD SUPPORT IN ARIZONA
- EFFECT OF STOCK OPTIONS ON CHILD SUPPORT IN ARIZONA
- MODIFYING CHILD SUPPORT FROM ANOTHER STATE IN ARIZONA
- CHILD SUPPORT MUST BE MODIFIED WHENEVER CHILD CUSTODY ORDERS CHANGE IN ARIZONA
- REGISTERING A CHILD SUPPORT ORDER IN ARIZONA
- BURDEN OF PROOF FOR A DEVIATION IN CHILD SUPPORT IN ARIZONA
- REIMBURSEMENT FOR OVERPAID CHILD SUPPORT IN ARIZONA
- GIFTS AND FREE RENT MAY BE INCOME FOR CHILD SUPPORT PURPOSES
- COURT DISCRETION TO ADD RECURRING GIFTS AS INCOME FOR CHILD SUPPORT
- CHILD SUPPORT AND THE NARCISSIST PARENT
- INCLUDING INCOME FROM A SECOND JOB IN ARIZONA CHILD SUPPORT CALCULATIONS
- STANDARD OF PROOF TO ESTABLISH A WAIVER OF PAST CHILD SUPPORT IN ARIZONA
- CHILD SUPPORT CANNOT BE A PERCENTAGE OF A PARENT’S INCOME IN ARIZONA
- WHAT IS A WAGE ASSIGNMENT IN ARIZONA
- THE AGE WHEN CHILD SUPPORT ENDS IN ARIZONA
- SSDI PAYMENTS OFFSET MEDICAL EXPENSES FOR A CHILD IN ARIZONA
- MODIFYING CHILD SUPPORT WHEN NEITHER PARENT LIVES IN ARIZONA
- HOW TO MODIFY OR ENFORCE A CHILD SUPPORT ORDER ISSUED IN ANOTHER STATE
- HOW TO MAKE ARIZONA CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS
- HOW IS INCOME CALCULATED FOR CHILD SUPPORT IN ARIZONA
- HOW TO ENFORCE A CHILD SUPPORT ORDER IN ARIZONA
- WHAT IS CONSIDERED GROSS INCOME FOR ARIZONA CHILD SUPPORT
- CALCULATING A PARENT’S INCOME FOR CHILD SUPPORT IN ARIZONA
- ERRORS IN REGISTERING A CHILD SUPPORT ORDER FROM ANOTHER STATE IN ARIZONA
- DOMESTICATING A CHILD SUPPORT ORDER IN ARIZONA
- CHILD SUPPORT AND AN UNEMPLOYED PARENT IN ARIZONA
- WHAT DOCTORS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT CHILD SUPPORT IN ARIZONA
- CAN A NON-CUSTODIAL PARENT RECEIVE CHILDREN’S SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS IN ARIZONA
- START DATE FOR TEMPORARY SUPPORT IN ARIZONA
- EFFECT OF DENIAL OF VISITATION ON CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS IN ARIZONA
- ARIZONA CHILD SUPPORT FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- EFFECT OF ERRORS IN REGISTERING A CHILD SUPPORT ORDER FROM ANOTHER STATE IN ARIZONA
- WHEN YOU CAN MODIFY CHILD SUPPORT IN ARIZONA
- GIFT INCOME AND MODIFICATION OF CHILD SUPPORT IN ARIZONA
- WAIVER OF PAST CHILD SUPPORT BY AGREEMENT IN ARIZONA
- UPWARD DEVIATION IN CHILD SUPPORT IN ARIZONA
- MODIFYING A CHILD SUPPORT ORDER FROM ANOTHER COUNTRY
- OBJECTION TO CHILD SUPPORT ARREARS IN UIFSA DOMESTICATION IN ARIZONA
- CAN A SPOUSE’S INCOME BE CONSIDERED FOR CHILD SUPPORT IN ARIZONA
- LEGAL METHODS OF COLLECTING CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS IN ARIZONA
- ENFORCEMENT OF A FOREIGN COUNTRY CHILD SUPPORT ORDER IN ARIZONA
- DRIVERS LICENSE RESTRICTIONS FOR UNPAID CHILD SUPPORT IN ARIZONA
- CAN A LOAN BE INCLUDED AS INCOME FOR CHILD SUPPORT IN ARIZONA
- OVERPAYMENT OF CHILD SUPPORT IN ARIZONA
- PAST DUE SUPPORT PAYMENTS APPLY FIRST TO CHILD SUPPORT BEFORE ALIMONY
- CALCULATING CHILD SUPPORT WITH SPLIT CUSTODY OF CHILDREN IN ARIZONA
- EFFECT OF DELAY IN COLLECTING CHILD SUPPORT ARREARAGES IN ARIZONA
- RECOVERING CHILD SUPPORT NOT ORDERED IN A DIVORCE DECREE IN ARIZONA
- LEGAL OPTIONS FOR COLLECTING CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS IN ARIZONA
- ARIZONA COURT’S AUTHORITY TO HEAR CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS
- IMPACT OF WITHHOLDING A CHILD ON CHILD SUPPORT IN ARIZONA
- SISTER STATE’S RIGHT TO MODIFY ARIZONA CHILD SUPPORT RULING
- IS A CHILD SUPPORT ORDER VOID IF IT DOES NOT MENTION ARREARS IN ARIZONA
- CHILD SUPPORT OBLIGATIONS OF A MINOR IN ARIZONA
- TIME LIMIT TO COLLECT CHILD SUPPORT ARREARAGES IN ARIZONA
- RETROACTIVE MODIFICATION OF A CHILD SUPPORT ORDER IN ARIZONA
- CONTEMPT OF COURT FOR UNPAID CHILD SUPPORT ARREARAGES IN ARIZONA
- SUPPORT FOR DISABLED ADULT CHILDREN IN ARIZONA
- CALCULATING INCOME FOR CHILD SUPPORT IN ARIZONA
- THREE YEAR LIMITATION FOR COLLECTING CHILD SUPPORT ARREARAGES
- DISMISSING MODIFICATION OF CHILD SUPPORT FOR NOT DISCLOSING FINANCIAL DOCUMENTS
- ARIZONA CHILD SUPPORT MODIFICATIONS MUST INCLUDE ANY CHANGES IN PARENTING TIME
- EQUITABLE DEFENSES TO FAMILY SUPPORT IN ARIZONA
- AFFIDAVIT OF CHILD SUPPORT ARREARS FROM ANOTHER STATE IN ARIZONA
- PERSONAL JURISDICTION AND CHILD SUPPORT ARREARAGES IN ARIZONA
- PERSONAL JURISDICTION OVER A NON-RESIDENT IN AN ARIZONA CHILD SUPPORT CASE
- ARIZONA CRIMINAL LAW FOR NON-PAYMENT OF CHILD SUPPORT IS CONSTITUTIONAL
- FULL FAITH AND CREDIT CLAUSE REQUIRES PERSONAL JURISDICTION TO ENFORCE SUPPORT ORDERS
- CHILD SUPPORT IN A BANK ACCOUNT IS EXEMPT FROM EXECUTION BY CREDITORS
- NON-PARENT LAWSUIT FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF CHILD SUPPORT IN ARIZONA