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Lee v. Lee

Supreme Court of Wyoming

June 18, 2013

MATTHEW OLIVER LEE, Appellant (Plaintiff),
v.
NANCY W. LEE, Appellee (Defendant).

Appeal from the District Court of Teton County The Honorable Marvin L. Tyler, Judge

Mark J. Longfield of Longfield Law Office, LLC, Jackson, Wyoming.

Molly Hartman Dearing of Dearing Law Firm, LLC, Jackson, Wyoming.

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

KITE, Chief Justice.

[¶1] Matthew Oliver Lee (Father) appeals from the district court's order directing him to pay Nancy W. Lee (Mother) $680 per month in child support for the care of their minor child. Although the district court granted Father a downward deviation from the amount calculated with the child support guidelines, he claims the court erred by refusing to apply the joint custody child support statute. We disagree with some of the district court's rationale; however, we conclude, in the end, it did not abuse its discretion. Consequently, we affirm.

ISSUES

[¶2] Father presents a single issue on appeal:

Did the district court abuse its discretion in finding that [Father] did not meet the requisite statutory guidelines for joint custody child support?

Mother also queries:

Does this [C]ourt lack jurisdiction to consider this appeal because [Father] failed to file a Notice of Appeal from the district court's final order disposing of the issues in this case within the allotted time provided by Wyo. R. App. P. Rule 2.01?

FACTS

[¶3] The parties divorced in 2008 and the initial decree established joint legal and physical custody of their minor child with no support obligation. On April 6, 2009, Father filed a petition to modify custody, seeking primary residential custody of the child. On April 28, 2009, Mother responded with her own motion seeking primary residential custody and child support. The parties were ultimately able to agree on a number of matters, including that Mother would have primary residential custody of the child and Father would have liberal visitation. Father's overnight visitation generally included every other weekend during the school year, alternating holidays, and all of the summer vacation except every other weekend and one uninterrupted ten day period and one four day weekend during which Mother was entitled to keep the child.

[¶4] The parties agreed to split the cost of the child's health insurance and any non-covered medical needs. With regard to school expenses, the parties agreed to share equally expenses associated with "remedial training, tutoring, textbooks and testing." However, Mother was responsible for "standard school supplies, school meals, field trips, yearbooks and class gifts."[1] The parties were unable to agree on child support and submitted that matter to the district court for resolution, expressly stipulating that the decision could be made on the record without a hearing. Mother sought child support in accordance with the child support guidelines in Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 20-2-304(a) (LexisNexis 2012)[2] which pertain to a standard primary custody/visitation arrangement. Father asserted the reduced child support obligation set out in Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 20-2-304(c) (LexisNexis 2012)[3 ...


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