Fields v. Slaven, 031319 INCA, 18A-JP-2032

Docket Nº:18A-JP-2032
Opinion Judge:BRADFORD, JUDGE.
Party Name:Eric L. Fields, Appellant-Petitioner, v. Lindsay N. Slaven, Appellee-Respondent.
Attorney:Attorney for Appellant Kelley Yeager Baldwin Yeager Good & Baldwin Shelbyville, Indiana Attorney for Appellee Nicole A. Zelin Pritzke & Davis, LLP Greenfield, Indiana
Judge Panel:Bailey, J., and Brown, J., concur.
Case Date:March 13, 2019
Court:Court of Appeals of Indiana
 
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Eric L. Fields, Appellant-Petitioner,

v.

Lindsay N. Slaven, Appellee-Respondent.

No. 18A-JP-2032

Court of Appeals of Indiana

March 13, 2019

Pursuant to Ind. Appellate Rule 65(D), this Memorandum Decision shall not be regarded as precedent or cited before any court except for the purpose of establishing the defense of res judicata, collateral estoppel, or the law of the case.

Appeal from the Hancock Circuit Court Cause No. 30C01-1702-JP-63 The Hon. R. Scott Sirk, Judge

Attorney for Appellant Kelley Yeager Baldwin Yeager Good & Baldwin Shelbyville, Indiana

Attorney for Appellee Nicole A. Zelin Pritzke & Davis, LLP Greenfield, Indiana

MEMORANDUM DECISION

BRADFORD, JUDGE.

Case Summary

[¶1] Appellant-Petitioner Eric Fields ("Father") is the biological father of A.F., born to Appellee-Respondent Lindsay Slaven ("Mother") in 2013. In late 2016, Mother and Father ended their romantic relationship and Mother moved out with A.F. In February of 2017, Father petitioned to establish his paternity of A.F. In July of 2018, the trial court issued its final order, which (1) established Father's paternity of A.F., (2) awarded primary physical custody of A.F. to Mother, (3) set a parenting-time schedule, (4) ordered Father to pay $173.50 per week in child support, (5) made child support retroactive to the filing of the paternity petition, and (6) ordered Father to pay half of A.F.'s uninsured medical expenses through July of 2018. Father contends that the trial court abused its discretion in awarding Mother primary physical custody of A.F. and in setting the parenting-time schedule. Father also contends that the trial court erred in calculating his child-support obligation and making it retroactive and in ordering him to pay for half of A.F.'s uninsured medical expenses through July of 2018. Because we disagree with all of Father's contentions, we affirm.

Facts and Procedural History

[¶2] Mother and Father began dating in February of 2009 and, on June 22, 2013, Mother gave birth to A.F. Mother and Father agreed that Mother would leave her job at the prosecutor's office to stay home and care for A.F. Mother scheduled all of A.F.'s medical appointments, paid for all her medical care, and purchased all of her clothing. During the first two years of A.F.'s life, Father was a police officer with the Greenfield Police Department, working third shift and sleeping during the day. At the time, Father also operated Fields Tree Service, which he had founded. Eventually, Father left the police department to work for Fields Tree Service full time.

[¶3] Mother and Father continued to reside together with A.F. until November of 2016, when Mother and A.F. moved out of Father's home, eventually settling into an apartment. On February 17, 2017, Father petitioned to establish his paternity of A.F. In the months following November of 2016, A.F. lived with Mother, and Father spent time with A.F. while Mother was at work but did not exercise any overnight parenting time.

[¶4] On May 19, 2017, a preliminary hearing was held, after which the trial court adopted a provisional agreement the parties had reached, in which the parties apparently agreed that Father would pay $175.00 per week in child support. On July 9, 2017, the trial court entered a temporary order providing Father regular parenting time with A.F. and holiday parenting time as agreed upon by the parties or, in the absence of an agreement, pursuant to the holiday parenting-time schedule set forth in the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines ("the Guidelines"). The temporary order also provided that, retroactive to May 19, 2017, Father would pay $175.00 per week in child support directly to Mother.

[¶5] On January 3, June 11, and July 9, 2018, the trial court held a final hearing. Father testified that he was a 34% owner of Fields Tree Service and was paid $1000.00 per week. In 2017, Father received $59, 000.00 from Fields Tree Service. Christopher Borgman testified that he owned fifteen percent of Fields Tree Service and received $1000.00 per month from the business. Mother testified that although she is a 51% owner of Fields Tree Service, she had done no work for and had received no compensation from the business since leaving Father in November of 2016. Mother submitted two child support obligation worksheets, one of which, Exhibit M, calculated Father's weekly income at $1634.00. The income figure is based on the $59, 000.00 Father received from Fields Tree Service in 2017 and a depreciation expense of $25, 952.04 allocated to him as additional income.

[¶6] On July 24, 2018, the trial court entered its order establishing paternity in Father and awarding Mother primary physical custody of A.F. The trial court ordered that Father was to exercise parenting time with A.F. from 6:00 p.m. on...

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