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Carbaugh v. Nichols

Supreme Court of Wyoming

January 6, 2014

Kevin R. CARBAUGH, Appellant (Defendant),
v.
Nancy B. NICHOLS, f/k/a Nancy B. Carbaugh, Appellee (Plaintiff).

Page 1176

Representing Appellant: Dameione S. Cameron, Cameron Law Office, P.C., Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Representing Appellee: Donna D. Domonkos, Domonkos Law Office, LLC, Cheyenne, Wyoming.

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

DAVIS, Justice.

[¶ 1] The district court modified the custody, visitation, and child support provisions of the decree which divorced these parties. Appellant Kevin Carbaugh (Father) does not challenge the modification, but claims that the district court abused its discretion when it entered a written order which he contends differs from an oral ruling concerning his obligation to reimburse Appellee Nancy Nichols (Mother) for medical and other expenses of one of the parties' children. We find no abuse of discretion and therefore affirm. We also deny Mother's request for sanctions under Wyoming Rule of Appellate Procedure 10.05.

ISSUES

[¶ 2] 1. Did the district court abuse its discretion when it declined to determine the amount Father owed Mother to reimburse her for expenses she had incurred for health care of one of the parties' children?

2. Is Mother entitled to an award of attorney fees and costs under Wyoming Rule of Appellate Procedure 10.05?

FACTS

[¶ 3] The parties married in 1995 and divorced in 2005. The divorce decree awarded them joint custody of their two children, J.C. and M.C. Each parent was allowed to have the children fifty percent of the time, and child support was calculated on that basis. Father was required to provide health insurance for the children, and the parties were required to equally divide any remaining " health, medical, dental, orthodontic, eye care, prescriptions and/or counseling expenses" not covered by insurance. See Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 20-2-401 (LexisNexis 2013).[1] The district court awarded child support in accordance with the applicable statutory guidelines. See Wyo. Stat. Ann. §§ 20-2-301 to -316 (LexisNexis 2013).

[¶ 4] Mother moved to modify the custody provisions of the decree in 2009, claiming that the joint custody arrangement was not working and that there were other grounds for modification. She also asked the court to modify the support provisions of the decree, because if she was awarded primary custody and Father did not have the children fifty percent of the time, his support obligation would increase.[2] The designated record is

Page 1177

limited, but what we have available to us contains no indication that she or Father asked the court to modify the provisions of the decree governing payment of medical expenses incurred for the benefit of the children.

[¶ 5] When the matter went to hearing, Mother explained the problems that had led her to seek a modification of the decree. M.C. suffers from diabetes and an eating disorder, and she has had extensive treatment for both. Mother did not testify to the costs of treatment except during the following exchange about how the treatment bills had been paid:

[Mother's Attorney]. While I'm thinking of it. The Center for Change [a treatment facility in Utah], was that covered entirely by insurance?
[Ms. Nichols]. No, it was not.
Q. How much out-of pocket did you spend toward medical bills for Center for Change?
A. Um, my family and I spent at least $15,000.
Q. Have you incurred significant medical expenses ...

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