Hodapp v. Hodapp
Hodapp v. Hodapp is an unpublished May 2016 opinion from the Court of Appeals. In Hodapp, Father petitioned to modify child support when the oldest of the parties’ three children emancipated. At the time of the parties’ 2010 divorce Father had agreed, due to his substantial assets, to pay above guidelines child support. At trial in the modification action, the family court reset child support pursuant to the guidelines, finding Father’s current unemployment was an unanticipated change of circumstances. Mother appealed and I was retained to represent Mother on the appeal.
In a summary opinion the Court of Appeals affirmed. It rejected Mother’s argument that Father’s current unemployment was an unanticipated change of circumstances (he was unemployed at the time of the divorce). It rejected her argument that the 2010 agreement to deviate from the guidelines should continue when the only change of circumstances was the emancipation of the parties’ oldest child (the value of Father’s assets had slightly increased since the time of divorce). It rejected her argument that the family court erred in not imputing Father any wage income in setting child support, finding that Father had made an active attempt to look for employment before stopping his search.
It further rejected Mother’s argument that the family court erred in reducing Father’s child support on the basis of an unanticipated change of circumstances when he continued to have the ability to pay above guideline child support, noting “Deviation from the guidelines should be the exception rather than the rule.”