Pham v. Petkova, C082343

CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals
Writing for the CourtRENNER, J.
PartiesQUOC T. PHAM, Appellant, v. NELI PETKOVA, Respondent.
Decision Date07 June 2019
Docket NumberC082343,C085651

QUOC T. PHAM, Appellant,
NELI PETKOVA, Respondent.



June 7, 2019


California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

(Super. Ct. No. SDR27419)

Quoc T. Pham (father), appearing in propria persona, appeals from numerous court orders. Each of father's claims on appeal fail either because they are not supported by citations to the record, relevant legal authority, or coherent legal argument. Additionally, his appeal from the trial court's ruling on contempt is not properly before this court on appeal. We affirm the orders of the court.


Father and Neli Petkova (mother) are the parents of R.P. In January 2009, they entered into a stipulation for temporary child support: Father agreed to pay mother $809 each month from December 2008 through April 2009. They entered into a new

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stipulation in June 2015, modifying the amount of monthly child support to $500. The June 2015 stipulation was made an order of the court. Included were orders that the parties would exchange their most recent paystubs and tax returns on a quarterly and annual basis, and mother would immediately notify father if her income exceeded $3,300 per month.

On April 12, 2016, father and mother appeared before the trial court, each asking the court to allow them to travel internationally with R.P.: mother to Bulgaria and father to Canada. Following that hearing, on April 29, 2016, the court issued a written order.

In the April 29, 2016, written order, the court noted that, prior to the hearing, the parties reached an agreement in mediation. Father then moved the court for additional "stipulations for [m]other to travel abroad separate and apart from [m]other's request and separate and apart from the agreements they reached in mediation." Father argued that he should not be subject to any measures to prevent him from abducting R.B. while traveling abroad.

The court found "temporary measures to prevent abduction" during travel were appropriate to impose on both parties. Accordingly, the court issued the following order:

"The court will issue a temporary order for the period effective May 1, 2016 through December 31, 2016. If either parent travels outside the United States of America during that time the following orders apply [footnote omitted]:

"[¶] . . . [¶]

". . . Travel is not currently authorized. The court issues this temporary order to authorize travel between the date of the order and December 31, 2016. . . . Should there be any further disagreement regarding travel after December 31, 2016[,] either party may properly file and properly notice for hearing a request for order."

On June 2, 2016, the parties appeared before the trial court on a motion that father filed on April 8, 2016. In his motion, father asked the court to modify child support, award him attorney fees and costs, and order mother to pay for medical costs incurred by

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R.P. Following the hearing, the court issued several orders, including a seek work order for mother, an order directing the parties to exchange updated Income and Expense Declarations on or before August 29, 2016, and an order to share equally any uninsured healthcare costs for R.P. The court then set the matter for a child support review hearing on September 14, 2016.

The parties appeared before the court again on September 7, 2016. At the conclusion of that hearing, the court ordered father to pay to mother $563 each month in child support, beginning July 1, 2016. The court reiterated its prior order that the parties share equally in the unreimbursed medical expenses incurred for R.P., denied father's request for attorney's fees, and vacated the seek work order previously imposed on mother. The court imputed mother with a monthly income of $3,031 and, in calculating child support, gave her half a hardship deduction for her second child (a deduction totaling $281) under Family Code section 4071.1

On October 14, 2016, father filed a motion seeking clarification of the court's September 7, 2016, order. The court heard father's motion on November 2, 2016. The court found the motion to be one for reconsideration and denied the motion "as an improper motion for reconsideration."

In July 2017, father again moved the trial court for an order modifying child support. In this motion, father asked the court to modify child support retroactive to "the start of mother's full time employment (unknown)." He asked the court to order mother to pay half of the medical expenses incurred by R.P., and to turn over her income tax returns and pay stubs. He also asked the court to give him a hardship deduction for "uninsured losses and medical expenses" under section 4071, when calculating child support.

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In support of his request for a hardship deduction, father alleged that mother moved from New York to Bulgaria in order to deny him a relationship with R.P. Then, in 2005, she promised him she would return to New York with R.P. Relying on her promise, father purchased an apartment in New York in 2006. Mother did not, however, return to New York, but moved with R.P. to California. Father moved to California to have a relationship with R.P. and had to rent out his New York apartment. He said that he lost between $5,100 and $6,800 on that apartment every year until 2016 when he was able to sell it. He claimed a total of "$65,000 in uninsured losses," which he blamed on mother's deception and argued should qualify as a hardship deduction under section 4071.

On July 28, 2017, the trial court received father's order to show cause and affidavit for contempt. Father argued mother should be held in contempt for failing to comply with the court's orders to turn over her financial information to father. The trial court "decline[d] to issue the Order to Show Cause at th[at] time." The court found the issues raised in father's affidavit could be resolved at the hearing already on calendar for September 6, 2017. The court also said that, "in this high conflict case, it bears repeating that all orders of the court remain in full force and effect unless and until vacated or superseded, and failure to comply with the orders of the court can have significant consequences."

Father appeared before the court on September 6, 2017, mother did not attend the hearing. The court accepted as true father's allegation that mother disobeyed the court's orders. The court ruled that mother owed father four dollars each month for child support; father waived that amount. The court denied father's request for a hardship deduction, finding the financial loss he incurred as a result of mother's conduct did not qualify as "catastrophic losses" under section 4071, subdivision (a)(1). The trial court also found father's income to be $7,813 per month, ordered the parties to share equally in

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uninsured medical expenses for R.P., and ordered mother to pay father $283 for uninsured medical expenses already incurred for R.P.

Father filed his first notice of appeal on June 28, 2016, appealing from the trial court's April 29, 2016 order. He filed a second notice of appeal on November 8, 2016, appealing from trial court orders issued on June 2, 2016, September 7, 2016, and November 2, 2016. Both of those notices were included in appeal No. C082343.

On September 28, 2017, father filed a third notice of appeal, appealing from court orders issued on August 3, 2017, and September 6, 2017. That notice of appeal began a second appeal, No. C085651. On the court's own motion, we consolidated the two appeals for purposes of decision and argument.


In a challenge to a judgment, the trial court's judgment is presumed to be correct and the appellant has the burden to prove otherwise by presenting legal authority and reasoned analysis on each point made, supported by appropriate citations to the material facts in the record,...

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