Gonzalez-Gunter v. Gunter, No. 1 CA-CV 19-0165 FC

CourtCourt of Appeals of Arizona
Writing for the CourtHOWE, Judge
Citation249 Ariz. 489,471 P.3d 1024
Parties In re the Marriage of: Misty Ann GONZALEZ-GUNTER, Petitioner/Appellee, v. Bryan Charles GUNTER, Respondent/Appellant.
Docket NumberNo. 1 CA-CV 19-0165 FC
Decision Date23 July 2020

249 Ariz. 489
471 P.3d 1024

In re the Marriage of: Misty Ann GONZALEZ-GUNTER, Petitioner/Appellee,
v.
Bryan Charles GUNTER, Respondent/Appellant.

No. 1 CA-CV 19-0165 FC

Court of Appeals of Arizona, Division 1.

FILED July 23, 2020
AS AMENDED 8-14-2020


Misty Ann Gonzalez-Gunter, Queen Creek, Petitioner/Appellee

Berkshire Law Office PLLC, Tempe, By Keith Berkshire, Erica L. Gadberry, Counsel for Respondent/Appellant

Judge Randall M. Howe delivered the decision of the Court, in which Presiding Judge Samuel A. Thumma and Judge Diane M. Johnsen1 joined.

HOWE, Judge:

¶1 Bryan Charles Gunter ("Father") appeals from family court orders apportioning parenting time with his two daughters, born in 2009 and 2010, and requiring him to reimburse Misty Ann Gonzalez-Gunter ("Mother") for expenses she incurred on behalf of the children. Father argues that A.R.S. §§ 25–403.02, –103(B)(1), and –411(J) require the family court to equally divide parenting time absent a finding of parental unfitness or endangerment. We hold that they do not.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶2 Father and Mother shared equal parenting time and joint legal decision-making of their children pursuant to a 2015 consent

471 P.3d 1026

dissolution decree. The decree did not order payment of child support by either party.

¶3 In July 2017, Father moved to enforce certain money awards made to him in the decree. Mother moved to dismiss his motion, arguing that any money she owed Father should be offset by unreimbursed expenses she had incurred, including expenses for the children's medical and extracurricular activities. In November 2017, Mother moved to modify legal decision-making, parenting time, and child support. Mother alleged that Father had abused drugs and emotionally and verbally abused the children.

¶4 Mother also sought temporary orders regarding legal decision-making and parenting time. She asked that the court order Father undergo drug testing and suspend Father's parenting time if he tested positive. After a hearing, the court declined to enter temporary orders, but ordered Father undergo a hair follicle test and appointed a Court Appointed Advisor ("CAA") to investigate Mother's allegations and make recommendations.

¶5 Thereafter, Father underwent a hair follicle test, which came back negative for drug use. The CAA presented a report recommending that Mother be designated as the primary residential parent, Father take a parenting skills course, and both parents enroll in a "high conflict resolution class." The CAA expressed concern that Father had been "less than engaged" with the children and "insensitive to the children's emotional needs." She added that Father "fail[ed] to place the children's needs before his own" and that he allowed his "negative feelings toward Mother to interfere with his ability to co-parent with Mother."

¶6 The court then held an evidentiary hearing on Mother's petition to modify and her reimbursement claims. The CAA testified that Father's parenting skills were not "adequate enough to have extended time with the children." The CAA also testified that the children hesitated to talk about their relationship with Father and that one child was "somewhat fearful" of Father. Mother testified that, over her objection, Father had once taken the children out of state. She also testified that she and Father had difficulty communicating and that "there is always ‘backlash.’ " Mother supported her reimbursement claims by reading into the record a portion of Father's deposition in which he stated that he would pay "a hundred a month" for each child's gymnastics classes.

¶7 After making relevant best-interests findings under A.R.S. § 25–403(A), the court designated Mother as the primary residential parent and reduced Father's parenting time to the first and third weekends of every month, plus vacation time and some holidays. The court also denied Mother's reimbursement request.

¶8 Mother moved the court to reconsider its reimbursement ruling. After receiving Father's response and Mother's reply, the court noted that Father had agreed at his deposition that he would pay $100 per month per child for gymnastics classes. It therefore found that Mother was entitled to $9,600 in reimbursement from Father for four years of the children's gymnastics expenses. Father timely appealed.

DISCUSSION

1. Interpretation of A.R.S. §§ 25–403.02, –103(B)(1), and – 411(J)

¶9 Father argues that the family court erred under A.R.S. §§ 25–403.02, –103(B)(1), and –411(J) in ordering a "lopsided" parenting plan that reduced his parenting time to 72 days a year. He maintains that these statutes mandate 50-50 parenting time absent a finding of parental unfitness or endangerment. We review...

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14 practice notes
  • Smith v. Smith, 1 CA-CV 21-0317 FC
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Arizona
    • 5 Abril 2022
    ...270, 273, ¶ 11, 304 P.3d 1093, 1096 (App. 2013) (establishing orders reviewed for an abuse of discretion); Gonzalez-Gunter v. Gunter , 249 Ariz. 489, 491, ¶ 9, 471 P.3d 1024, 1026 (App. 2020) (modifying orders reviewed for an abuse of discretion and statutory interpretation reviewed de novo......
  • Ward v. Smith, No. 1 CA-CV 20-0008 FC
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Arizona
    • 9 Marzo 2021
    ...exactly equal parenting time, even in the absence of evidence of "parental unfitness or endangerment." See Gonzalez-Gunter v. Gunter, 249 Ariz. 489, 492, ¶¶ 11-12 (App. 2020). Thus, although equal parenting time is presumed to be in a child's best interests, the superior court has both the ......
  • In re Marriage of Leon-Carpenter, No. 2 CA-CV 2020-0058-FC
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Arizona
    • 5 Abril 2021
    ...parenting-time order for an abuse of discretion but review de novo questions of statutory interpretation. See Gonzalez-Gunter v. Gunter, 249 Ariz. 489, ¶ 9 (App. 2020). "We will not set aside the [trial] court's findings of fact unless clearly erroneous, giving due regard to the opportunity......
  • Adkisson v. Keith, No. 1 CA-CV 20-0193 FC
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Arizona
    • 26 Enero 2021
    ...531, ¶ 6. However, neither A.R.S.Page 5 § 25-403.02(B) nor A.R.S. § 25-103(B)(1) mandate equal parenting time. Gonzalez-Gunter v. Gunter, 249 Ariz. 489, 492, ¶ 11-12 (App. 2020). But, the trial court "has discretion to determine parenting time based on all the evidence before it," and is on......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
16 cases
  • Smith v. Smith, 1 CA-CV 21-0317 FC
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Arizona
    • 5 Abril 2022
    ...270, 273, ¶ 11, 304 P.3d 1093, 1096 (App. 2013) (establishing orders reviewed for an abuse of discretion); Gonzalez-Gunter v. Gunter , 249 Ariz. 489, 491, ¶ 9, 471 P.3d 1024, 1026 (App. 2020) (modifying orders reviewed for an abuse of discretion and statutory interpretation reviewed de novo......
  • Ward v. Smith, No. 1 CA-CV 20-0008 FC
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Arizona
    • 9 Marzo 2021
    ...exactly equal parenting time, even in the absence of evidence of "parental unfitness or endangerment." See Gonzalez-Gunter v. Gunter, 249 Ariz. 489, 492, ¶¶ 11-12 (App. 2020). Thus, although equal parenting time is presumed to be in a child's best interests, the superior court has both the ......
  • In re Marriage of Leon-Carpenter, No. 2 CA-CV 2020-0058-FC
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Arizona
    • 5 Abril 2021
    ...parenting-time order for an abuse of discretion but review de novo questions of statutory interpretation. See Gonzalez-Gunter v. Gunter, 249 Ariz. 489, ¶ 9 (App. 2020). "We will not set aside the [trial] court's findings of fact unless clearly erroneous, giving due regard to the opportunity......
  • Adkisson v. Keith, No. 1 CA-CV 20-0193 FC
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Arizona
    • 26 Enero 2021
    ...531, ¶ 6. However, neither A.R.S.Page 5 § 25-403.02(B) nor A.R.S. § 25-103(B)(1) mandate equal parenting time. Gonzalez-Gunter v. Gunter, 249 Ariz. 489, 492, ¶ 11-12 (App. 2020). But, the trial court "has discretion to determine parenting time based on all the evidence before it," and is on......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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