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Havens v. Havens

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

July 18, 2013

Amy L. Havens, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Jeff Havens, Defendant-Appellant.

APPEAL from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, Division of Domestic Relations. C.P.C. No. 09DR-05-2151

Laura M. Peterman, for appellee.

Jack L. Moser, Jr., for appellant.

DECISION

KLATT, P.J.

{¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, Jeff Havens, appeals a judgment of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, Division of Domestic Relations, that denied him a deviation from the guideline child support amount. For the following reasons, we affirm.

{¶ 2} Jeff married plaintiff-appellee, Amy L. Havens, on September 6, 2002. Two children were born during the marriage. In a judgment entry-decree of divorce dated July 25, 2011, the trial court granted the parties a divorce, determined a schedule for shared parenting, and ordered Jeff to pay child support in the amount of $1, 487.70 per month, plus a processing charge. The trial court determined the amount of child support by using the basic child support schedule and the shared parenting worksheet.

{¶ 3} Jeff requested that the trial court deviate from that guideline amount. In support of this request, Jeff argued that four R.C. 3119.23 factors militated in favor of a deviation: extended parenting time, the disparity of income between the parties, significant in-kind contributions from him to the children, and the relative financial resources of each parent. See R.C. 3119.23(D), (G), (J) and (K). The trial court found that the extended-parenting-time factor did not apply because the court had awarded Jeff and Amy equal parenting time, i.e., a 50/50 split. According to the trial court, a parent only had extended parenting time if he or she cared for the children for significantly more than 50 percent of the time. Since the children would be under Jeffs care exactly 50 percent of the time, the trial court found that Jeffs time with the children did not qualify as extended parenting time. The trial court then considered each of the remaining factors that Jeff raised, and it determined that a deviation was not just, appropriate, or in the best interests of the children.

{¶ 4} Jeff appealed the July 25, 2011 judgment to this court and, in part, challenged the trial court's definition of extended parenting time. We agreed with Jeff that the trial court interpreted the phrase "extended parenting time" too narrowly. We held that " 'extend[ed] parenting time' as used in R.C. 3119.23(D) contemplates something more than parenting time during the standard visitation schedule established by the court for all non-custodial parents and does not necessarily require parenting time in excess of 50 percent." Havens v. Havens, 10th Dist. No. 11AP-708, 2012-Ohio-2867, ¶ 30. Loc.R. 27 of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, Division of Domestic Relations, provides a guideline parenting time schedule that allows the residential parent 75 percent of the parenting time and the non-residential parent 25 percent of the parenting time. Parenting time in excess of 25 percent, therefore, qualifies as extended parenting time in Franklin County. Jeffs parenting time exceeds 25 percent. Therefore, we remanded the case to the trial court "for the limited purpose of considering appellant's request for a child support deviation in light of our holding concerning only the trial court's disposition of R.C. 3119.23(D)." Havens at ¶ 31.

{¶ 5} On remand, the trial court recognized that Jeff had extended parenting time with his children because he parented them more than 25 percent of the time. Nevertheless, the trial court did not grant Jeff a downward deviation. The trial court concluded that, given the disparity in the parties' income, the guideline child support amount was just, appropriate, and in the children's best interests.

{¶ 6} Jeff now appeals the trial court's judgment, and he assigns the following errors:

[1.] THE TRIAL COURT ERRED, ABUSED ITS DISCRETION, AND RULED AGAINST THE MANIFEST WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE WHEN IT RULED THAT APPELLANT WAS NOT ENTITLED TO DEVIATION FROM CALCULATED CHILD SUPPORT.
[2.] THE TRIAL COURT ERRED, ABUSED ITS DISCRETION, AND RULED AGAINST THE MANIFEST WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE WHEN IT FAILED TO BALANCE ALL STATUTORY FACTORS OF O.R.C. §3119.23 AND §3119.24 WHEN RULING THAT APPELLANT WAS NOT ENTITLED TO A DEVIATION IN CHILD SUPPORT.

{¶ 7} By his first assignment of error, Jeff argues that the trial court erred in not granting him an automatic 50 percent downward deviation from the guideline child support amount. We disagree.

{¶ 8} Generally, if a trial court issues a shared parenting order, the trial court must also order the payment of an amount of child support calculated using the child support schedule and the worksheet set forth in R.C. 3119.022. R.C. 3119.24(A); Havens at ΒΆ 7. The guideline child support amount that results from the use of the basic child support schedule and the applicable worksheet (through the line establishing actual annual obligation) is presumed to be the correct amount of child support due. R.C. 3119.03. However, if the guideline child support amount "would be unjust or inappropriate to the children or either parent and would not be in the best interest of the child because of the extraordinary circumstances of the parents or because of any other factors or criteria set forth in section 3119.23 of the ...


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