CAROLYN H. DUMAS
IAN D. MILOTTE
on Briefs December 17, 2015
briefs: Gregory J. Orso, Esq., Orso Law, P.A., York, for
appellant Ian Milotte.
Hastings, Esq., Ann E. Hastings Law Office, P.A., Kennebunk,
for cross-appellant Carolyn H. Dumas.
SAUFLEY, C.J., and MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, and HJELM, JJ.
[¶1] Ian D. Milotte appeals and Carolyn H.
Dumas cross-appeals from a child support order included in a
judgment issued by the District Court (York, Janelle,
J. ) establishing parental rights and responsibilities
regarding their minor child. The judgment did not include
findings of fact and conclusions of law supporting the
applicable elements of the child support calculation. Milotte
moved for the court to issue findings and conclusions on
those issues, and the court denied Milotte's motion. The
denial of Milotte's motion was erroneous because of the
requirements of Maine Rule of Civil Procedure 52(a). We
therefore vacate that portion of the judgment addressing
child support and remand for further proceedings.
[¶2] Milotte and Dumas are the parents of a
child born in 2012. In December 2014, Dumas commenced this
action for a determination of their parental rights and
responsibilities. A hearing on Dumas's complaint and
Milotte's counterclaim was held in April 2015. At the
hearing, the parties presented evidence bearing on parental
rights and responsibilities, including the various financial
considerations necessary to determine their child support
responsibilities. See 19-A M.R.S. § §
2001-2012 (2014). In this case, the considerations
central to calculating child support were the incomes both of
the primary care provider (Dumas) and of the non-primary care
provider (Milotte) to determine the basic support
entitlement, see 19-A M.R.S. § 2006(1) (2014),
and the cost of childcare, see id. §
2006(3)(A). The parties contested each of those components of
the child support computation based on the following
[¶3] First, regarding Dumas's income,
the court was presented with evidence that as a self-employed
farrier, she worked 30 hours per week. She testified that she
chose not to work more " [b]ecause I'm a
mother." Her weekly income was $600 for 48 weeks per
year and $1,000 for the remaining four weeks. She testified
that she " always" takes a quarterly bonus but that
there have been only two such payments: $5,333 for the last
quarter of 2014, and $1,800 for the first quarter of 2015.
For 2014, she reported gross receipts of $40,000, but taxable
income of approximately $27,000 in part because she claimed a
depreciation expense of approximately $2,700 arising from her
purchase of a horse trailer, and deductible transportation
expenses of nearly $9,000. She further testified that she did
not expect a change between her 2014 and 2015 income levels.
The court determined that Dumas' annual income for child
support purposes was $30,000 but did not explain the basis
for this determination.
[¶4] Second, as to Milotte's income, the
evidence showed that he is employed as a medical marijuana
cultivator. The court was presented with evidence that he
worked 30 hours per week and, at the time of the hearing,
earned an hourly wage of $13.50, having recently received a
raise from $11 per hour. Milotte testified that he sets his
work schedule based on his contact schedule with the child.
In his child support affidavit, see M.R. Civ. P.
108(a), he reported annual income of $17,160. Again without
explaining its reasoning, the court determined that
Milotte's annual income was $25,000.
[¶5] Third, the issue of the childcare
expense was contested at the hearing. Undisputed evidence
established that the daily cost of childcare was $43. The
child had been attending daycare two days per week, and in
their child support affidavits, both parties quantified the
weekly childcare expense to be $86. Dumas, however, testified
that the child's best interest would be served if he
attended daycare five days per week, and Milotte's
position was that he should have contact with the child
during some of the time Dumas contended the child should
spend at daycare. In the worksheet accompanying the child
support order, the court found that the proper weekly amount
of childcare was $215, which is ...