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Tafoya v. Tafoya

Supreme Court of Wyoming

October 2, 2013

Jessica L. TAFOYA, Appellant (Defendant),
v.
Paul W. TAFOYA, Appellee (Plaintiff).

Page 1237

Representing Appellant: Zenith S. Ward and Curtis B. Buchhammer, Buchhammer & Kehl, P.C., Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Representing Appellee: Donna D. Domonkos, Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Before KITE, C.J., and HILL, VOIGT, BURKE, JJ., and DAY, DJ.

DAY, District Judge.

[¶ 1] Jessica L. Tafoya (Mother) and Paul W. Tafoya (Father) divorced in 2012. In the divorce decree, the trial court awarded Father (living in Wyoming) primary custody of the parties' child with liberal visitation to Mother (living in New Mexico). Upon Father's motion, the reviewing district court [1] later entered an order clarifying the decree regarding who was obligated for transportation costs relative to visitation. Mother appeals from that order, claiming the order improperly modified or otherwise improperly clarified the divorce decree. Father maintains that the order did not amount to a

Page 1238

modification and that the order correctly clarified the decree. We affirm.

ISSUE

[¶ 2] The dispositive issue in this appeal is whether the district court properly clarified the decree pursuant to W.R.C.P. 60(a).

FACTS

[¶ 3] The parties married in 2005 and divorced in 2012. By the time of the divorce trial, Mother had moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Father was living in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The parties have one minor child who was five years old at the time the divorce decree was entered. In the divorce decree, the trial court granted the parties joint legal custody of their child, with Father having primary residential custody, and with Mother " receiving liberal visitation, also known as parenting time, and at a minimum no less than the Court's Standard Visitation Order." The Standard Visitation Order was attached and incorporated into the decree.

[¶ 4] The Standard Visitation Order distinguishes between how transportation costs for visitation are assessed depending upon whether the visitation is for summer and holidays or for weekends. The decree provision dealing with transportation costs does not make that distinction. In short, the Standard Visitation Order requires the parents to split costs equally for summer/holiday visitation, but requires the visiting parent to bear the costs of weekend visitation; the decree merely states the parties are to share transportation costs for visitation, making no distinction between summer/holiday visitation and weekend visitation.[2]

[¶ 5] Five months after the decree was entered, Father filed a Motion to Correct or Clarify Decree of Divorce, noting the difference between the decree and the Standard Visitation Order in how transportation costs were to be assessed. Father stated that Mother's exercise of weekend visitations, and her insistence that transportation costs be shared, required Father to fly to Albuquerque on alternating Sundays to pick up the parties' young child for return to Cheyenne. Father noted that in some months his contributions for visitation expenses exceeded the amount of child support he received from Mother. Father pointed out that the trial court, in its ruling, stated, " I do anticipate it will be impossible to exercise every-other-weekend visitation, unfortunately."

[¶ 6] After a hearing, the district court issued its Order Granting Motion to Clarify or Correct Decree, ordering that " the Decree is clarified such that the Standard Visitation Order applies, that weekend visitation is at the expense of the visiting parent and the ...


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