Marquis v. Marquis (Wyoming 2020)

2020 WY 141 (2020)
November 2020

Evidence must support a parent’s request to exclude business expenses from net income. The parent seeking to deduct the business expense has the burden of proof. The father filed to modify custody, visitation, and support, and the mother responded with a petition to modify support. The parents settled all matters except support. They agreed to submit written arguments and their proposed calculations and supporting documents to the district court to consider without the need for a hearing. The father owned his own business. To calculate his income, the district court added his personal and business income and then deducted income taxes and depreciation for three years. The district court then averaged the net incomes and calculated support. Support increased substantially. The father appealed the final order arguing the court abused its discretion in figuring income, denying a downward deviation, and by not applying the shared responsibility calculation. The Supreme Court upheld the order. To start, the father argued the district court failed to hold an evidentiary hearing on the child support. The Supreme Court found this argument without merit as the parents agreed to submit their arguments and proposed support calculations to the court in writing and let the court decide without a hearing. The court had the option to hold a hearing, but one was not required. As to the remaining grounds on appeal, the Supreme Court found the record showed no evidence to support any of the father’s arguments. He failed to explain the nature of the depreciation and reason for the distributions from the company. As the owner, he controlled the amount and timing of the distributions. He argued he should get a deviation for additional children and the contributions he made on the children’s behalf while they were in his care. Again, he provided no documents or explanation for these expenses such that the court could grant a deviation.