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Dickens v. Boddy

Supreme Judicial Court of Maine

July 7, 2015

AMY E. (BODDY) DICKENS
v.
WILLIAM JOHN BODDY

Submitted On Briefs: June 2, 2015.

Judgment affirmed.

On the briefs: William John Boddy, appellant, Pro se.

Barbara A. Cardone, Esq., Lanham Blackwell & Baber, Bangor, for appellee Amy E. Dickens.

Panel: SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, GORMAN, JABAR, and HJELM, JJ.

OPINION

Page 723

ALEXANDER, J.

[¶1] William John Boddy appeals from a judgment entered in the District Court (Ellsworth, Mitchell, J. ) denying, in part, his motion to modify a divorce judgment. Boddy contends that the court was compelled by the evidence to find that he was providing substantially equal care to his child and to adjust his child support obligation accordingly, and that it clearly erred by finding no substantial change in circumstances sufficient to modify the child's residency. Thus, Boddy contends, the court abused its discretion by denying his motion as to these issues.[1] We affirm.

I. CASE HISTORY

[¶2] William John Boddy and Amy E. Dickens (formerly Amy D. Boddy) were married in Eastbrook in July 2007 and have one child. Dickens filed a complaint for divorce in April 2008, and the two were divorced by a judgment entered by the District Court (Ellsworth, Staples, J. ) in June 2010. The original judgment provided for shared parental rights and responsibilities of the parties' child, awarded Dickens primary residency, required Boddy to pay $142.74 weekly in child support, and appointed a parenting coordinator.

[¶3] Boddy moved to modify the judgment in December 2011. In March 2013, the court ( Field, J. ) modified the divorce judgment by an order that maintained primary residency with Dickens and shared parental rights and responsibilities between the parties, but provided a new schedule for parent/child contact, which placed the child with her father every other Wednesday to Sunday during the school year and every other week for the full week during summer vacations. In addition, the court reduced Boddy's weekly child support obligation from $57.75, the sum indicated by the child support guidelines, to $35.82, " in recognition of [Boddy's] substantially equal time with the child during the summer months." See 19-A M.R.S. § 2006(5)(D-1) (2014). At the time that the 2013 order issued, Boddy was unemployed.

[¶4] Recognizing that the child would begin school in the fall of 2013, the court also provided that " [a]t the conclusion of the child's second grade school year, or June of 2016, whichever occurs first, the parties shall assess the appropriateness of a move to a year round equal, shared parental residential arrangement for her."

[¶5] One year later, Boddy filed a second motion to modify. By this time, he had become employed and was earning slightly less than was Dickens. In that motion, Boddy asserted that there had been three changes in circumstances: (1) his income had increased by over twenty percent, (2) he had been providing substantially equal care for the past year, and (3) the child had started attending school. Boddy requested that the court declare that the parties were currently providing substantially equal care for the child pursuant to 19-A M.R.S. § 2006(5)(D-1) and provide for shared residence between the parties. See 19-A M.R.S. § 1653(2)(D) (2014).

[¶6] The court ( Mitchell, J. ) held a hearing on the motion in September 2014. Both parties provided child support affidavits and testified as to their respective incomes. Boddy testified that he did ...


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