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Zupan v. Zupan

Supreme Court of Wyoming

August 9, 2016

JOHN M. ZUPAN, JR., Appellant (Plaintiff),
v.
HEATHER M. ZUPAN, Appellee (Defendant).

         Appeal from the District Court of Hot Springs County The Honorable Norman E. Young, Judge

          Representing Appellant: Amanda K. Roberts of Lonabaugh and Riggs, LLOP, Sheridan, WY; and Bobbi D. Overfield of Messenger & Overfield, P.C., Thermopolis, WY.

          Representing Appellee: Wendy Press Sweeney, Worland, WY.

          Before BURKE, C.J., and HILL, DAVIS, FOX, and KAUTZ, JJ.

          HILL, Justice.

         [¶1] Father challenges an order modifying his child support obligation and argues that Mother did not show a material change in circumstances to justify that modification. Father also contends that even if a modification was appropriate, the district court miscalculated the amount. We will affirm.

         ISSUES

         [¶2] Father presents two issues for our review:

1. Modification of Child Support was improper pursuant to the Smith Rule.
2. Even if Modification of Child Support was appropriate, the district court erred in its determination of Father's child support obligation.

         FACTS

         [¶3] Father and Mother married in 1996 and had two children, a girl born in 1997 and a boy born in 2000. The parties divorced in 2004 and agreed to share custody. Their agreement provided that they would alternate residential custody on an annual basis, with the custody exchange taking place on July 15 of every year. The parties also agreed that Mother would not pay child support, while Father would pay $500 monthly while the children lived with Mother. The agreement was to expire on July 15, 2008 and per the agreement, the parties were to seek mediation if they could not agree on a custody arrangement moving forward. As it turns out, in 2008 Mother sought to hold Father in contempt for failing to mediate. That was denied in district court, where the court also held that the former custody and child support arrangement should continue. Mother appealed, and this Court affirmed in Zupan v. Zupan, 2010 WY 59, 230 P.3d 329 (Wyo. 2010).

         [¶4] In June of 2011, the parties stipulated to a modification of custody. The modification provided that daughter would live with Mother permanently, while son would continue with shared custody. Father would pay $250 per month in child support for daughter, and an additional $250 while both children lived with Mother. This matter began in 2012 when Father filed a Motion for Order to Show Cause, seeking to hold Mother in contempt for failing to pay unreimbursed medical expenses for the children. On May 4, 2012, Mother counterclaimed to modify child support and requested that the modification be retroactive to the date Father was served with the counterclaim. After a hearing, the district court entered its "Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Plaintiff's Motion for Order to Show Cause and Order Modifying Judgment and Decree of Divorce." The district court determined that Father owed $18, 813.81 in retroactive child support from May of 2012 to January of 2015. The court offset that amount by unreimbursed medical expenses Mother owed to Father in the amount of $2, 069.16. The court ruled no accrual of interest would occur if Father paid Mother within 60 days of entry of the order. The court further ruled that beginning on June 1, 2015, Father would pay monthly child support in the amount of $466.55 for the parties' son. Father's appeal followed this ruling.

         STANDARD ...


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