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Joseph Alan Egan v. Kori Kae Egan

December 15, 2010

JOSEPH ALAN EGAN, APPELLANT
(DEFENDANT),
v.
KORI KAE EGAN, APPELLEE
(PLAINTIFF).



Appeal from the District Court of Park County The Honorable Steven R. Cranfill, Judge

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kite, Chief Justice.

OCTOBER TERM, A.D. 2010

Before KITE, C.J., and GOLDEN, HILL, VOIGT, and BURKE, JJ.

NOTICE: This opinion is subject to formal revision before publication in Pacific Reporter Third. Readers are requested to notify the Clerk of the Supreme Court, Supreme Court Building, Cheyenne, Wyoming 82002, of typographical or other formal errors so correction may be made before final publication in the permanent volume.

[¶1] The district court allowed a significant deviation from Kori Kae Egan's (Mother) child support obligation. Joseph Alan Egan (Father) claims that the district court abused its discretion by considering improper factors in allowing the deviation and erred in calculating Mother's net income. We conclude that the district court did not abuse its discretion when it ordered a deviation from the presumptive child support amount and, although it erred by deducting certain expenses in calculating Mother's net income, the error was harmless.

[¶2] We affirm.

ISSUES

[¶3] Father presents the following issues:

1. Whether the district court abused its discretion by using improper factors to deviate from the presumptive amount of child support?

2. Whether the district court erred in computing Appellee's net monthly income for purposes of calculating child support?

Mother did not file a timely brief on appeal.

FACTS

[¶4] Mother and Father married in 1988 and had two children, a son born in 1991 and a daughter born in 1993. The parties divorced in 2002, and Mother was awarded primary physical custody of the children. They agreed that Father would pay $500 per month child support, which was an upward deviation from the presumptive amount provided in the child support guidelines. Both parties remarried and had two additional children with their new spouses. Mother and Father each have one child from their subsequent marriage with special needs.

[¶5] In February 2009, the parties stipulated to modification of the primary physical custody of their son after he began to reside with Father and agreed to eliminate all child support since each party had physical custody of one child. In August 2009, the parties' daughter also moved in with Father. The parties agreed to modification of custody of the daughter, but could not agree on child support.

[¶6] The district court held a hearing on the child support issue. In the resulting child support order, the district court calculated support using Mother's net income as indicated on her pay check stub and imputed income to Father because he worked on a ranch and received substantial non-cash compensation in addition to his monthly salary. Applying its income calculations to the child support guidelines, the district court determined that Mother's presumptive child support obligation would be $817*fn1 per month. However, the district court ruled that deviation from the presumptive amount was warranted and ordered Mother to pay $200 per month in child support. Father appealed.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

[¶7] We review a district court's order modifying child support for abuse of discretion. Keck v. Jordan, 2008 WY 38, ¶ 6, 180 P.3d 889, 891 (Wyo. 2008); Gray v. Pavey, 2007 WY 84, ¶ 8, 158 P.3d 667, 668 (Wyo. 2007).

In determining whether the district court has abused its discretion, we must decide whether it could reasonably conclude as it did. Judicial discretion is a composite of many things, among which are conclusions drawn from objective criteria; it means exercising sound judgment with regard to what is ...


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