Court of Appeals:

 

Matzdorff v. Bilkiss, No. 83870-COA, Order of Affirmance (Unpublished Disposition, Nov. 17, 2023)

Parties were divorced by stipulated decree in 2019 and share joint legal and physical custody of their two minor children. Both parties are self-employed and have had large fluctuations in income since the divorce. The decree required Dad to pay $715 a month in child support.

Eventually child support was lowered to $200, but Mom was awarded $7,063.75 in attorney fees.

Dad then filed a Motion for an Order to Show Cause to Enforce Court Order Regarding Defendant’s Income; for Sanctions and/or Attorney Fees and to Modify Child Support. The district court (Dawn Throne) denied his motion. The court found Dad’s motion was frivolous, without merit, and vexatious, and awarded Mom $2,000 for preparing for the hearing. Dad appealed.

The Court of Appeals affirmed finding that the district court did not abuse its discretion when it denied his request to modify child support based upon his assertion that Mom misrepresented her gross annual income. Also, the district court did not abuse its discretion when it declined to hold Mom in contempt for failure to comply with the district court’s prior order to produce financial disclosures every sixty days. Dad did not challenge the reasonableness of the award of the attorney fees so that argument was waived.

Lastly, the COA cautioned the district court about its language that “it will not permit the parties to re-litigate child support every year” and “will not allow the matter to be relitigated again in advance of a three year review.” However, the challenged language is not specifically ordered, so it did not impose an impermissible restriction in violation of NRS 125B.145(4).

 

Lozano-Donahue v. Donahue, No. 84261-COA, Order of Reversal and Remand (Unpublished Disposition, Dec. 13, 2023)

Parties were married and have two minor children. In 2016, the parties separated. After initially residing with Dad, the children began living with Mom and had minimal contact with Dad. Divorce proceedings commenced, and there were disputes over Mom alienating the children. The family therapist testified that she attributed the children’s alienation from Dad to Mom.

The district court (Stacey Rocheleau) awarded Dad sole physical custody of the children along with a plan for gradually transitioning them from Mom’s care. Mom was to have no contact with the children until her therapist determined that she met certain benchmarks. Mom appealed the physical custody determination.

The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded. The COA found that the district court’s resolution of the parties’ physical-custody dispute did not comport with the requirements for awarding a party sole physical custody set forth in the court’s recent opinion in Roe v. Roe, 139 Nev., Adv. Op. 21, 535 P.3d 274 (Ct. App. 2023).

The COA remanded the matter to the district court for further proceedings based on the principles, rules, and requirements articulated in Roe.

 

Payne v. Payne, No. 86478-COA, Order of Reversal and Remand (Unpublished Disposition, Dec. 13, 2023)

Parties divorced in Utah in 2018. In their divorce decree, they agreed to joint legal and physical custody of their minor child. The parties relocated to Reno, and the Utah decree was registered. Mom filed a motion to modify child custody and child support in 2023. Mom made numerous allegations in her motion that Dad disputed.

Without a hearing, the district court (Sandra Unsworth) denied Mom’s motion. The court noted that Mom’s allegations were identical to the allegations raised in her October 2021 motion to have the minor child continue therapy. The court further found that Mom’s allegations were stale and largely broad or conclusory. Mom appealed.

The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded holding that a district court has discretion to deny a motion to modify custody without conducting an evidentiary hearing unless the movant has demonstrated “adequate cause.”

The COA concluded that assuming Mom’s allegations are true, the allegations could show that there has been a substantial change in circumstances, and the earlier motion was for therapy, not a change in custody, so the allegations were not cumulative. Therefore, the district court abused its discretion in refusing to hold an evidentiary hearing.

The COA expressed no opinion with respect to the merits of Mom’s motion.

 

[Matzdorff was accidentally copied to the last batch as well].

 

Marshal S. Willick
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