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How to Fix an Error in a Family Law Case in Arizona

Posted on : January 30, 2018, By:  Christopher Hildebrand
How to Fix an Error in a Family Law Case in Arizona.

How to Fix an Error In a Family Law Case in Arizona

In a memorandum decision from the Arizona Court of Appeals in the case of Blair vs. Blair, the appeals court addressed what constitutes an error is a court order in a family law case in Arizona.

How to Fix an Error in a Family Law Case in Arizona.

How to Fix an Error in a Family Law Case in Arizona.

Father appeals from the family court’s order denying his motion to correct a clerical mistake regarding child support. For the following reasons, we affirm. Father and Mother are the parents of two minor children (the “Children”). In April 2016, after an evidentiary hearing, the family court awarded sole legal decision-making authority to Mother. In an effort to minimize the contact between Mother and Father, the family court instituted a parenting plan, giving Father a total of 141 days of parenting time with the Children. The court also ordered Mother to pay child support to Father in accordance with the Arizona Child Support Guidelines (the “Guidelines”), finding no deviation was appropriate.

In May 2016, Father filed a motion to amend the judgment, asking for an increase in his parenting time. In his motion, Father noted: “This change may result in a slight adjustment to the parenting time days for Father, but Father will leave it to the Court whether the child support amount should be modified accordingly.” In July 2016, the family court awarded Father some additional parenting time but did not modify child support. Father filed an Arizona Rule of Family Law Procedure (“ARFLP”) 85(A) motion to correct a “clerical mistake” in February 2017. In his motion, Father argued that the family court’s July 2016 order had effectively added 8 days to his 141 days of parenting time for a new total of 149 days. Because the family court had ordered that no deviation from the Guidelines was appropriate in its April 2016 ruling, Father argued Mother’s child-support payments should have been increased accordingly in the July 2016 order.

Jennifer, thank you for being my attorney. I could not have been more pleased with the outcome of my family court hearing. Everything you have done for me throughout this case reflects in the final ruling of the judge. You helped me keep my head together and taught me a lot about myself as a person. I learned so much about my life from observing and listening to you. I will take all the advice you gave me to continue taking responsibility for my choices, continue to put the kids' needs first, and always stay truthful. Your diligence, dedication, and persistence in my case made what seemed impossible, possible. You are a wonderful person and an amazing attorney and I am stronger and more confident because of you.
A Google User
A Google User
20:31 20 Sep 17
I just want to again thank the Firm for working with me all that it has. I could not have done anything without everyone's assistance. You, Chris and Stacey have been and continue to provide me with compassion and hard work towards my case. Also a very special thanks to Kip for taking my case in the beginning. Also continued support from him and his dedication to providing me with his expertise in this matter.
A Google User
A Google User
21:41 07 Nov 17
After interviewing several law firms, I came across Jennifer Shick, and her firm, who I hired to represent me for my Family Court case. Jennifer has extensive knowledge of the law and is determined to bring the truth to every issue involved within the case. Throughout my case, Jennifer was prepared meticulously as well as went above and beyond all of my expectations. Even when the other party tried to differ from the truth, lie to the Judge, and turn situations around, Jennifer remained attentive and provided substantial evidence to show the judge the facts as well as the proof to support what was the best interests of my children. Additionally, Jennifer helped me endure many difficult experiences, situations and inspired me to remain positive throughout the entirety of my case. Her kindness, compassion, and professionalism helped me through very difficult times and made the process feel a thousand times lighter on my shoulders. She truly has my children and my best interest at heart and I trust her perspective as well as her honesty on each and every aspect of my case. She lessened the burden on my shoulders and even when I felt like the case was not going to go in my favor, Jennifer was open-minded and reassured me that the Judge would, in fact, see the truth, which he did and the case went in my favor. After nine months of court, everything finally came together. I cannot declare how much Jennifer has been an outstanding attorney. She addressed each and every issue with diligence, she cares about her clients and their families. Jennifer genuinely cares about her clients and her dedication to the details of the case was remarkable. Overall, I am extremely pleased with Jennifer’s services and I am truly thankful that I was so blessed to have her represent my children and me. I highly recommend Jennifer as one of the best attorneys in Arizona and if the situation ever arises, I will definitely have her represent my children and me again.
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Dear Stacey and Kip, How can I ever thank you enough for helping me through the most difficult time in my life? I couldn't put into words my heartfelt gratefulness. You both were so compassionate and professional at every given moment throughout this process with me. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You helped me to regain my freedom.
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16:03 22 Nov 17
I was a client of Attorney Kevin Park for the dissolution of a divorce in 2016. And since I had never had the need to hire an attorney before for any purpose, I was somewhat apprehensive of the process. But the very calm and professional demeanor of Mr. Park eased my fears. He adeptly answered all my questions and I clearly knew the process and what to expect. And the skilled manner he communicated with opposing counsel was perfect. When it came down to negotiating with my spouse’s counsel, I knew I had selected the best attorney for my situation. What I noticed and appreciated was that he was using just the right amount of pressure with opposing counsel as was necessary. If you find yourself in this situation, you will want a seasoned professional like Mr. Park on your side. I'm very grateful that he was my attorney and not the opposition!
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22:14 28 Jun 17
Chris is a smart and aggressive attorney for his clients. Chris always tries to reach a fair settlement of his cases. I’ve represented clients when Chris was the opposing counsel and while he is professional and amicable to work with, he does not back off on what he needs to do for his client
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I feel that Tracey Van Wickler is certainly one of the best family lawyers around. She is logical, intelligent, and truly cares. Tracey always does what is in the clients best interest, does it well, timely and with integrity. She is good at keeping her clients informed as to what is going on and clear in her communication both written and verbally. I have recommended Tracey to other people and will continue to recommend her. I recommended Tracey to someone who was having issues with their ex-wife and his response was, “I know how good she is because I went up against her and she ate me for lunch”. This same person was so impressed with her, he even recommended her to someone else, WOW, that is impressive! I am exceptionally happy with her attention to detail, her ability to explain things in ways that are easy to understand, as well as her ability to keep everyone focused on the most important things. I would recommend Tracey to anyone who may be in need of her services.
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I retained Hildebrand Law after interview a number of firms in the valley. Working with Michael C. was incredibly easy and informative. My case progressed in such a organized and thought out way to ensure that my needs were met. Michael was incredibly proactive and was able to see far ahead into my case to steer clear of some roadblocks. I would not hesitate to recommend Michael Clancy, and Hildebrand Law in general, to anyone.
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21:20 02 Apr 18
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Sam Franchimone
Sam Franchimone
22:09 12 Sep 13

In May 2017, the family court issued an order denying Father’s motion to correct a clerical mistake, from which Father now appeals. Father argues that the family court’s omission of a child support adjustment from its July 2016 order giving Father additional parenting time should be deemed a clerical error under ARFLP 85(A) and should be corrected to comply with the Guidelines. Alternatively, Father argues that the family court was required under Arizona Revised Statutes (“A.R.S.”) section 25-320(D) to address child support when adjusting parenting time. Its failure to do so, Father claims, justifies appellate intervention under ARFLP 85(C)(1)(f) or 85(C)(3). Under either theory, Father’s arguments fail.

Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure Rule 85(A) provides: Clerical mistakes in judgments, orders, or other parts of the record and errors therein arising from oversight or omission may be corrected by the court at any time of its own initiative or on motion of any party and after such notice, if any, as the court orders. During the pendency of an appeal, such mistakes may be so corrected before the appeal is docketed in the appellate court, and thereafter while the appeal is pending may be so corrected with leave of the appellate court.

Correcting an Error in a Divorce Decree in Arizona.

Correcting an Error in a Divorce Decree in Arizona.

While ARFLP 851 does not define “clerical mistake,” it authorizes the correction of “clerical errors—to show what the court actually decided but did not correctly represent in the written judgment; it may not be used to correct ‘judicial errors’—to supply something that the court could have decided, but did not.” Egan-Ryan Mech. Co. v. Cardon Meadows Dev. Corp., 169 Ariz. 161, 166 (App. 1990). Whether error is judicial or clerical “turns on the question [of] whether the error occurred in rendering judgment or in recording the judgment rendered,” because “[t]he power to correct clerical error does not extend to the changing of a judgment, order, or decree which ARFLP 85 was adapted from Ariz. R. Civ. P. 60; in interpreting the Family Rule, we may, therefore, look to cases interpreting the Civil Rule. See ARFLP 85 comm. cmt. (“This rule is based on Rule 60, Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure”); ARFLP 1 comm. cmt. (“Wherever language in these rules is substantially the same as the language in other statewide rules, the case law interpreting that language will apply to these rules.”) was entered as the court intended.” Ace Auto. Prods., Inc. v. Van Duyne, 156 Ariz. 140, 142-43 (App. 1987).

Hildebrand Law, PC | Voted Best of Our Valley in Arizona Foothills Magazine.

Hildebrand Law, PC | Voted Best of Our Valley in Arizona Foothills Magazine.

The family court did not address any increase in child support payments corresponding with Father’s increase in parenting time. This omission cannot properly be classified as a “clerical error” under ARFLP 85(A). The family court confirmed that it did not intend to modify child support in its July 2015 order when it explicitly denied Father’s motion to correct the alleged “clerical mistake” in its May 2017 order. There is no evidence in the record before us that these orders were not entered exactly as the family court intended. See Hatch v. Hatch, 113 Ariz. 130, 134 (1976) (a motion to correct a clerical mistake cannot be used to retroactively change a child support award when there is no evidence that the change was to correct a clerical error). Therefore, this was not a clerical oversight pursuant to ARFLP 85(A).

Whether the family court made a judicial error by not modifying child support is an issue Father has waived by not objecting in family court. Ace Auto., 156 Ariz. at 143. Father’s alternative arguments— that the family court failed to make a finding that a deviation from the Guidelines was appropriate, as required by A.R.S. § 25-320(D), justifying our intervention on his behalf under ARFLP 85(C)(1)(f) or 85(C)(3)—were not raised to the family court, and we generally do not address arguments raised for the first time on appeal. Airfreight Express Ltd. v. Evergreen Air Ctr., Inc., 215 Ariz. 103, 109 (App. 2007).

For the foregoing reasons, we affirm the decision of the family court. Mother requests an award of attorney fees and costs pursuant to BLAIR v. BLAIR and A.R.S. § 25–324. We award Mother an amount of reasonable attorney fees and costs to be determined upon compliance with Arizona Rule of Civil Appellate Procedure 21.

Contact the experienced Phoenix and Scottsdale Arizona Family Law Attorneys at Hildebrand Law, PC at (480)305-8300 if You Need to fix an error in Your Arizona Family Law case.