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In re Marriage of Dominguez

Court of Appeals of Oregon

June 28, 2017

In the Matter of the Marriage of Marco Antonio DOMINGUEZ, Petitioner-Respondent, and Gillianne Madelynne FIELDS, Respondent-Appellant.

          Argued and submitted September 27, 2016

         Washington County Circuit Court C120210DRD Andrew Erwin, Judge.

          George W. Kelly argued the cause and fled the briefs for appellant.

          Craig M. Cowley argued the cause for respondent. With him on the brief was Gevurtz, Menashe, Larson & Howe, P. C .

          Before Sercombe, Presiding Judge, and DeHoog, Judge, and Flynn, Judge pro tempore.

         Case Summary:

         Mother appeals a supplemental judgment changing custody of the parties' two children from mother to father. She asserts that the court erred in denying her request for additional time to present her case. Held: The trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying mother's request for additional time, because the court did not prevent her from making a reasonably complete presentation of evidence and argument.

         Affirmed.

         [286 Or. 505] DEHOOG, J.

         Mother appeals a supplemental judgment changing custody of the parties' two children from mother to father. On appeal, mother asserts that the court erred in denying her request for additional time to present her case.[1] On review for abuse of discretion, Daves v. Kohan, 282 Or.App. 243, 244, 385 P.3d 1161 (2016), rev den, 361 Or. 439 (2017), we conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying mother's request for additional time, because the court did not prevent her from making a reasonably complete presentation of evidence and argument. Accordingly, we affirm.

         We start with a review of the facts relevant to mother's assignment of error, which are undisputed. In 2012, the trial court entered a general judgment awarding sole custody of the parties' two children to mother and parenting time to father. In 2014, father filed a motion to modify that judgment, alleging a substantial and unanticipated change in circumstances. See Ortiz and Ortiz, 310 Or. 644, 649, 801 P.2d 767 (1990) (a parent seeking to modify custody bears the burden of showing both a change in circumstances and that the proposed modification is in the best interests of the children).

         Before commencing the hearing on father's motion to modify, the trial court informed the parties that it had limited time to hear their case:

"I don't have time for a multi-day hearing.
******
"I'll give you today, I'll give you half of tomorrow. * * *
[T]hose are the parameters we can work with.
******
"I'll give four hours [to father] and then I'm turning the witness[es] over to [mother]. And at that point in time if there's more that has to be done * * * then we'll have to cross that bridge when we get to it.
[286 Or. 506] "So how you arrange witnesses is up to you. * * * I'm telling you what time you have before me, and that's the only time ...

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