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In re Slaughter

Court of Appeals of Oregon

July 5, 2018

In the Matter of Shayne SLAUGHTER, Petitioner-Appellant, and Grace HARRIS, nka Grace M. Wright, Respondent-Respondent.

          Argued and submitted January 31, 2018

          Washington County Circuit Court C054071DRA Beth L. Roberts, Judge.

          Michael J. Fearl argued the cause for appellant. Also on the briefs was Schulte, Anderson, Downes, Aronson & Bittner, P.C.

          Shayna M. Rogers argued the cause for respondent. Also on the brief were Tammy M. Dentinger and Garrett Hemann Robertson PC.

          Before Armstrong, Presiding Judge, and Tookey, Judge, and Shorr, Judge.

         Case Summary:

         Father appeals from a supplemental judgment changing custody of child, T, from father to mother and modifying the parenting time provisions of a 2006 stipulated judgment. Father moved with T approximately 15 miles further away from mother than his previous residence. Father did not inform mother of his plans to move until those plans had been fnalized. Following the move, it became more diffcult for mother to make full use of her allowed parenting time and father became less cooperative with mother regarding her parenting time. The trial court concluded that the move, along with the subsequent decline in father's cooperation with mother, constituted a substantial change in circumstances suffcient to change custody from father to mother. Father assigns error to that determination.

         Held:

         The trial court erred when it changed custody from father to mother. The record, even when viewed in the light most favorable to the trial court's determination, does not support a determination that a substantial change of circumstances suffcient to justify a change of custody had occurred.

         Reversed and remanded.

         [292 Or.App. 688] SHORR, J.

         Father appeals from the trial court's supplemental judgment awarding sole custody of their minor child, T, to mother and modifying parenting time provisions of a 2006 stipulated judgment. Prior to the supplemental judgment, father was T's legal custodian, and a general parenting-time plan provided for equal parenting time. Father first assigns error to the trial court's determination that there had been a substantial change in circumstances justifying a change of custody[1] We conclude that the record is not legally sufficient to prove a substantial change in circumstances justifying a change of custody.

         Neither party has sought de novo review. See ORS 19.415(3)(b); ORAP 5.40(8). Accordingly, on review of a change of custody, we are bound by the trial court's findings of fact provided that they are supported by any evidence in the record, and we review legal conclusions for errors of law. Botofan-Miller and Miller, 288 Or.App. 674, 675, 406 P.3d 175 (2017), rev allowed, 362 Or.App. 860 (2018). Under that standard, we review the evidence, as supplemented and buttressed by permissible derivative inferences, in the light most favorable to the trial court's determination, and assess whether the record contains legally sufficient evidence to support the determination that a change in circumstances has occurred. Id. at 675-76.

         We state the facts consistently with the trial court's express and implied findings supported by the record. Between 2006 and 2015, father lived in Hillsboro, Oregon. Father was T's sole legal custodian. Mother and father shared equal parenting time pursuant to parenting-time provisions in the 2006 stipulated judgment. In 2015, mother learned from T that father planned to move to Gaston, Oregon, approximately 15 miles further away from mother.[2]Father did not consult mother about the move and did not [292 Or.App. 689] notify mother prior to deciding to move. The move required changing T's school in Hillsboro to a local elementary school in Gaston. Mother expressed concern that the ...


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