Superior Court County: Whatcom. Superior Court Cause No: 89-3-00145-4. Date filed in Superior Court: Sept. 14, 1994, Findings, Nov. 8, 1994, Modification of Child Support. Superior Court Judge Signing: Steven Mura.
Written by: Judge Baker. Concurred by: Judge Agid, Judge Ellington
BAKER, C.J. - Theresa Payne appeals the modification of a parenting plan and a temporary order of child support. She also purports to challenge the final order of child support entered on a later date. She argues that the court erred by (1) changing the child's primary scheduled residence pursuant to a motion for minor modification of the parenting plan, (2) failing to consider the father's past income in computing child support, and (3) "deviating" from the father's past income without supportive findings and conclusions. We hold that the court erred when it changed the child's primary scheduled residence, but that the mother has failed to demonstrate error in the calculation of child support.
The parties' marriage was dissolved in 1990. They have
one child born in 1987. The original parenting plan scheduled the child to reside with the father from Tuesday afternoon through Friday afternoon, and with the mother from Friday afternoon to Tuesday morning. The intervening time at daycare on Tuesday was considered a neutral period, although the parenting plan allowed either parent to spend time with the child when she was scheduled to attend daycare. The de facto primary parent changed from time to time according to the parties' circumstances, but the residential schedule remained constant until the modification appealed here.
The mother moved for minor modification of the decree under RCW 26.09.260(4)(b) after she and the child relocated from Bellingham to Seattle. During the proceedings, the father received a transfer from his employer and moved to an apartment close to the mother's new home. In light of the father's active participation in the child's schooling, the trial court ordered a "minor" modification in the plan scheduling the child with him during the school week from Monday afternoon to Friday afternoon, and with the mother from Friday afternoon to Monday afternoon. The court also extended the father's scheduled time until Sunday morning one weekend per month to accommodate his new work schedule. The mother received three additional weeks in the summer to partially compensate for time lost under the new plan.
The trial court entered a temporary order of child support on November 8 using the father's projected income at his new job, rather than his earnings history from his former position. The court directed the parties to exchange financial information at the end of November so that it could enter a more accurate support order on December 9. Only the temporary order contained findings of fact and conclusions of law.
The mother argues that the trial court erred when it
changed the child's primary scheduled residence in the context of a motion for minor modification. Alternatively, she argues that the father's relocation to an apartment near her home rendered the need for modification moot. We agree with the first contention, but hold that the motion for minor modification was not moot because ...