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Moody v. Moody

Florida Court of Appeals, First District

June 28, 2018

Andrew R. Moody, Appellant,
v.
Natalia Yevgenyevna Moody n/k/a Natalia Yevgenyevna Arrington, Appellee.

         Not final until disposition of any timely and authorized motion under Fla. R. App. P. 9.330 or 9.331.

          On appeal from the Circuit Court for Wakulla County. John C. Cooper, Judge.

          Andrew R. Moody, pro se, Appellant.

          Edward W. Horan, Edward W. Horan, P.A., Tallahassee, for Appellee.

          OSTERHAUS, J.

         Andrew R. Moody appeals an order requiring him to pay the full amount of a child support arrearage to his former wife Natalia Y. Moody. Mr. Moody asserts that the final order should be reversed because one of the three children for whom the court ordered the payment of support actually lived with him, which should have reduced the amount he was ordered to pay. We agree and reverse.

         I.

         This case arises from a 2010 dissolution of marriage action. The parties entered into a marital settlement agreement and parenting plan approved by the court in which their three children would spend most of their time with Ms. Moody. An agreement between the parties called for Mr. Moody to pay $820 per month in child support to Ms. Moody, and included a step-down amount as each child became emancipated; with two minor children, for example, the amount would be reduced to $673 per month.

         In 2016, Ms. Moody filed a motion for enforcement/contempt of the child support order. She alleged that beginning in June 2015, Mr. Moody unilaterally reduced his payments of child support. Mr. Moody quickly responded by filing his own "motion" asserting that he was entitled to pay a lesser amount because the oldest child began to live with him in June 2015. He also asserted that the parties agreed to the reduction of the child support amount.

         A magistrate held a hearing on the motion. The undisputed testimony at the hearing was that the parties had three children, the oldest of whom moved in with Mr. Moody in June 2015 until reaching the age of majority in August 2016. Corresponding to the child's moving in with him, Mr. Moody reduced the amount of his child support payments from the court-ordered $820 per month to lesser amounts.

         The magistrate ultimately filed a report recommending that Ms. Moody's motion be granted. She found that Mr. Moody had unilaterally stopped paying the full amount of child support without authorization or agreement. Mr. Moody was ordered to pay the full $820 monthly child support amount from June 2015 forward, without regard for the fact that the oldest daughter lived with him full-time (and then turned eighteen) during this period. The magistrate's report stated that Mr. Moody would have to file a petition for modification if he sought to pay less child support.

         Mr. Moody filed exceptions to the magistrate's report, asserting among other things that it was error to order him to pay the full child support amount when the eldest child lived with him "100% of the time" from June 2015 forward. After the circuit court held a hearing on the exceptions, it summarily rejected them. And Mr. Moody appealed.

         Simultaneous with his appeal, Mr. Moody filed a "Supplemental Petition" for retroactive modification of child support as advised by the magistrate's report. This petition also sought a retroactive adjustment of his child support obligation corresponding to the oldest child living with him, along the lines of his defense to the earlier motion. The trial court denied the petition, however, finding that § 61.30(11)(c), Florida Statutes (2016), only permitted Mr. Moody to recover overpayments ...


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