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= &n= bsp; &nbs= p; = &n= bsp; ENTRY ORDER
= &n= bsp; &nbs= p; SUPREME COURT DOCKET NO. 2004-418
= &n= bsp; &nbs= p; = &n= bsp; MAY TERM, 2005
Alison (Clark) McWilliams&nb= sp;  = ; &= nbsp; } = APPEALED FROM:
v. = &n= bsp; &nbs= p; = &n= bsp; } = Chittenden Family Court
Thomas B. Clark &= nbsp; &nb= sp;  = ; &= nbsp; }=
} DOCKET NO= . 74-1-92 Cndm
Trial Judge: Mark Ke= ller
= ; &= nbsp; &nb= sp; In the above-entitled cause, the Clerk will enter:
Mother appeals from a family court order affirming a magistrate’s decision = to deny her emergency motion to= stay child support. Mother contends the child support order was invalid because the court failed to r= eview the adequacy of the order with reference to the child support guidelines.<= span style=3D'mso-spacerun:yes'> We affirm.
This is the second appeal in this matter. The basic facts are set forth in C= lark v. Clark, 172 Vt. 351 (2001). The parties were married in 1980 and divorced in 1993. Pursuant to the parties’ stipulation, mother was awarded parental rights and responsibilities for t= he parties’ two children, and sole possession of her interest in her father’s estate and a testamentary trust established by her father. = The parties subsequently stipulated that father would pay child support of $60= 0 per month, but mother later moved to modify child support, and the court grant= ed the order, increasing the amount to $1707 per month. We affirmed the order on appeal, = holding that the court had properly declined to impute income to mother from certa= in income producing investments. Id. at 354.
The events underlying the current appeal involve a tangled procedural history, which may be summarized as follows. In the summer of 2002, the parties agreed that their younger child,= who was sixteen years old at the time, could move from mother’s residenc= e in Virginia to live with father in Vermont and attend Champlain Valley Union = High School for the 2002-2003 school year.&nbs= p; In September 2002, father moved to modify parental rights and responsibilities, based on the child’s physical residence with him in Vermont, and in November father moved to modify child support. Thereafter, the parties entered into a written ag= reement in which mother agreed to pay child support of $1000 per month. The agreement recites that the pa= rties agreed “to this child support order without worksheets because [moth= er] has a very complicated financial situation which resulted in years of litigation in prior child support hearings, including huge attorney’s fees,” and that given the child’s age (16), further protracted discovery and litigation “makes no sense.” Both parties and their respective attorneys signed the agreement in December and January 2003, but father= 217;s counsel inadvertently failed to file it with the court.
A hearing was held on father’=
motion to modify parental rights and responsibilities in February 2003.
court subsequently agreed to treat mother’s letter as a request for
relief from judgment, held a hearing on April 30, 2003, and granted the
requested relief to set aside the order.&=
At no point during the hearing did mother challenge or seek to modi=
set aside the child support agreement. Shortly thereafter, the court entered a temporary ord=
dated June 18, 2003, incorporating the terms of the set-aside February ord=
including the requirement that wife pay child support of $1000 per month.<=
style=3D'mso-spacerun:yes'> The temporary order provided that=
shall pay child support of $1000 per month “pursuant to the Child Su=
Order dated November 18, 2002, until further order of the Court.”
Mother filed a motion to set aside the temporary order, which the court denied, stating that it was designed “to maintain the status quo and provide stability for the child.” Although mother had been paying $1000 per month in child support, s= he unilaterally stopped payments in May 2003. In June or July, she was apparently informed by the Office of Child Support that the June 18, 2003 temporary order had been registered as an o= rder for support and that she was subject to the arrearage judgment lien proced= ures set forth in 15 V.S.A. §§ 791 and 793. In response, in August 2003, mother filed an “emergency motion to stay child support,” citi= ng the temporary order’s mistaken reference to the November 18, 2002 order. The magistrate denied= the motion, stating that confusion about the date or contents of the prior ord= er was insufficient grounds to stay the obligation.
Mother then filed a motion to reconsider, which resulted in a hearing before the magistrate on October 27, 2003. Mother argued that there was no existing valid support order, but t= he magistrate concluded that mother had failed to satisfy the requirements fo= r a stay of the June order, noting that mother and her attorney had signed the January 2003 child support agreement under which she had been making payme= nts until May, that the motion to set aside the subsequent February order was addressed solely to mother’s disagreement with the parental rights a= nd responsibilities provision, not the child support agreement, and that the temporary June 2003 order, while mistakenly referencing a prior order, nevertheless contained a provision requiring continued payment of $1000 per month, as provided in the parties’ agreement.
At the hearing on the motion for reconsideration, mother raised the additional argument that a child support agreement must be reviewed by the court with reference to the child support guidelines, and requested an evidentiary he= aring on the parties’ respective incomes.= The magistrate denied the request and approved the parties’ child-support agreement, noting that the parties had specifically waived t= he guidelines and the submission of financial information in their child supp= ort agreement, and that mother remained free in any event to file a motion to modify child support and adduce evidence of her income to show that the $1= 000 monthly payment deviated from the guideline amount. Mother appealed the magistrate= 217;s ruling. Following a hearing = in March 2004, the court affirmed. This appeal followed.
her contention that a child support agreement does not relieve the court o=
obligation to calculate child support with reference to the support obliga=
under the child support guidelines.
See 15 V.S.A. § =
(“The court shall review the adequacy of a child support amount agre=
by the parties with reference to the total support obligation.”).
Thus, the court here properly reviewed the stipulation and was warranted in find= ing that the parties’ desire to avoid discovery and protracted litigatio= n was a sufficient basis to award child support without reference to the guideli= nes. Furthermore, we do not believe that mother may retroactively invalidate the agre= ement on the ground that the court failed to review her financials when she expr= essly waived financial disclosure for her own benefit. State v. Longe, 170 Vt. 35= , 40 n.* (1999) (party may not induce court ruling and later seek to set it asi= de as error). Accordingly, we disc= ern no basis to disturb the judgment.
&= nbsp;  = ; &= nbsp; &nb= sp;  = ; &= nbsp; &nb= sp; BY THE COURT:
Paul L. Reiber, Chief Justice
Denise R. Johnson, Associate Justice
Marilyn S. Skoglund, Associate Justice