In re Rodriguez, 111219 AZAPP1, 1 CA-CV 18-0698 FC
|Docket Nº:||1 CA-CV 18-0698 FC|
|Opinion Judge:||JONES, JUDGE|
|Party Name:||In re the Matter of: DOMINICA M. RODRIGUEZ, Petitioner/Appellant, v. VICTOR ANTONIO GARCIA, Respondent/Appellee.|
|Attorney:||Dominica M. Rodriguez, Phoenix Petitioner/Appellant|
|Judge Panel:||Presiding Judge Kenton D. Jones delivered the decision of the Court, in which Judge James B. Morse Jr. and Judge Diane M. Johnsen joined.|
|Case Date:||November 12, 2019|
|Court:||Court of Appeals of Arizona|
Not for Publication - Rule 111(c), Rules of the Arizona Supreme Court
Appeal from the Superior Court in Maricopa County No. FC2017-007850 The Honorable Katherine M. Cooper, Judge
Dominica M. Rodriguez, Phoenix Petitioner/Appellant
Presiding Judge Kenton D. Jones delivered the decision of the Court, in which Judge James B. Morse Jr. and Judge Diane M. Johnsen joined.
¶1 Dominica Rodriguez (Mother) appeals from the family court's orders requiring Victor Garcia (Father) to pay child support and denying her request for an award of attorneys' fees. For the following reasons, we vacate the order of child support for the period between September 1, 2017 and April 30, 2018 and remand for recalculation of the support award for that period. The remainder of the court's orders are affirmed.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
¶2 In August 2017, Mother petitioned the family court for an order establishing paternity and child support for her four-year-old son (Child).1 Paternity was confirmed in February 2018, and the court held an evidentiary hearing in July.
¶3 At the hearing, Mother testified she told Father she was pregnant in January 2013 and that Child was born the following September. Mother sent an email to Father advising that Child needed surgery in February 2014 but received no response. Later that year, Mother's friend exchanged text messages with Father's significant other about Child's medical status. Mother never requested Father pay child support and did not try to contact him again until shortly before she filed her August 2017 petition. Mother suggested she would have pursued support earlier had she "ha[d] enough information on him" but acknowledged that she had known Father since junior high school, that Father had had the same telephone number for twelve years, and that she eventually obtained his phone number through a private investigator.
¶4 Father testified he ended his relationship with Mother in 2012 and did not hear from her again until shortly before she filed her petition for paternity and child support. Father's significant other testified she never told him about the messages from Mother's friend.
¶5 Father expressed regret that he had been deprived of the opportunity to bond with and care for Child and agreed an award of child support moving forward was appropriate. He testified he had been earning $21 per hour but experienced health conditions that forced him to stop working entirely in June of 2018.
¶6 After taking the matter under advisement, the family court found Father was unaware of his possible parentage until he received Mother's petition. The court ordered Father to pay $250.42 per month in child support beginning the first of the month following the filing of Mother's petition - September 1, 2017. Application of this order resulted in a judgment of arrears totaling $2, 754.42. The court also found "both parties acted unreasonably to some extent" and ordered they bear their own attorneys' fees. After her post-trial motions were denied, Mother timely appealed the final judgment. We have jurisdiction pursuant...
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