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Brian Bruce v. Leslie Gray

IN THE COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA THIRD APPELLATE DISTRICT (Placer)


December 1, 2010

BRIAN BRUCE, PLAINTIFF AND APPELLANT,
v.
LESLIE GRAY, DEFENDANT AND RESPONDENT;
PLACER COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF CHILD SUPPORT SERVICES, INTERVENOR AND RESPONDENT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Raye ,j.

Bruce v. Gray CA3

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED

California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Appellant Brian Bruce (father) appeals from a trial court order establishing a parenting schedule for his three children and requiring him to pay child support to the children's mother, Leslie Gray (mother), in the amount of $635 per month beginning in January 2009. For the reasons that follow, we shall affirm.

Father has elected to proceed on a clerk's transcript. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.121.) Thus, the appellate record does not include a reporter's transcript of the trial in this matter. This is referred to as a "judgment roll" appeal. (Allen v. Toten (1985) 172 Cal.App.3d 1079, 1082-1083 (Allen); Krueger v. Bank of America (1983) 145 Cal.App.3d 204, 207.)

This limited record establishes the following: Father and mother have three daughters. In January 2000, after paternity was established, father was ordered to pay $375 per month to mother for child support. Two years later custody of the children was granted to father, and mother was awarded supervised visitation. Mother also was ordered to enroll in an anger management program "to better deal with issues of domestic violence in the home."

In 2003 mother was ordered to pay to father $297 per month for support of the children and an additional $25 per month for support arrears.

In 2004 mother's parenting time with the children was increased and her time with the children was no longer required to be supervised.

In March 2005 the trial court appointed an expert to complete a Family Code section 3110 custody evaluation. Shortly thereafter, mother's child support obligation was reduced to zero and the parties shared legal and physical custody of their children.

In January 2007 the trial court appointed a second expert to perform a Family Code section 3110 custody evaluation. Mother and father were ordered to share the cost of the evaluation, but father ultimately paid the balance himself. The evaluation was completed, and the report was received by the court on June 18, 2008.

Father then moved to modify custody, support, and visitation. In his formal statement of issues and contentions, father declared under penalty of perjury that one of their daughters lived with him that year for most of September, October, and November. He said mother violated the court's prior order by refusing to pay her share of the custody evaluation, refusing to transport the children to father for his parenting time, refusing to pay her share of transportation costs for the children, and by failing to provide proof that she completed the court-ordered domestic violence class.

Father asked the court to find he was the primary custodial parent of all three children, and to allow him to claim all three children as dependents on his income tax returns. He also asked the court to order mother to reimburse him for unpaid travel expenses, half the cost of the custody evaluation, and half the cost of medical insurance for the children. Finally, father asked the court to compel mother to attend the domestic violence program she was ordered to attend in 2002.

Father's motion was heard at a long cause hearing on January 23, 2009. Mother and father both testified at the hearing, and the matter was taken under submission. The court issued a written decision the following month. The court awarded mother and father shared legal and physical custody of the children, and imposed a detailed parenting schedule. Father was allowed to claim tax deductions for two children and mother for one.

Father was ordered to pay $544 per month to mother for child support for the period from June 1, 2008, through December 31, 2008, increasing to $635 per month beginning January 1, 2009.*fn1 Father appeals from this order.

DISCUSSION

On appeal, we must presume the trial court's judgment is correct. (Denham v. Superior Court (1970) 2 Cal.3d 557, 564.) Thus, we must adopt all inferences in favor of the judgment, unless the record expressly contradicts them. (See Brewer v. Simpson (1960) 53 Cal.2d 567, 583.)

It is the burden of the party challenging a judgment to provide an adequate record to assess claims of error. (Ketchum v. Moses (2001) 24 Cal.4th 1122, 1140-1141.) An appellant must present an analysis of the facts and legal authority on each point made, and must support the analysis with appropriate citations to the material facts in the record. If an appellant fails to do so, the argument is forfeited. (County of Solano v. Vallejo Redevelopment Agency (1999) 75 Cal.App.4th 1262, 1274; Duarte v. Chino Community Hospital (1999) 72 Cal.App.4th 849, 856.)

When an appeal is "on the judgment roll" (Allen, supra, 172 Cal.App.3d at pp. 1082-1083), we must conclusively presume evidence was presented that is sufficient to support the court's findings (Ehrler v. Ehrler (1981) 126 Cal.App.3d 147, 154 (Ehrler)). Our review is limited to determining whether any error "appears on the face of the record." (National Secretarial Service, Inc. v. Froehlich (1989) 210 Cal.App.3d 510, 521 (National Secretarial); Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.163.)

These restrictive rules of appellate procedure apply to father even though he is representing himself on appeal. (Leslie v. Bd. of Medical Quality Assurance (1991) 234 Cal.App.3d 117, 121; see also Nelson v. Gaunt (1981) 125 Cal.App.3d 623, 638-639; Wantuch v. Davis (1995) 32 Cal.App.4th 786, 795.)

On the record in this appeal, we find no error.

Father claims the trial court erred in failing to include mother's "SSI" benefits as nontaxable income for purposes of calculating child support. Father fails, however, to cite any legal authority in support of his claim, saying instead that it is "only fair" the court include mother's SSI benefits because the court "has a prior history" of including his SSI benefits as income for purposes of calculating child support. Because father failed to cite any legal authority or make any legal argument to support his claim, the claim is forfeited. (Troensgaard v. Silvercrest Industries, Inc. (1985) 175 Cal.App.3d 218, 228 (Troensgaard) [points raised without argument, citation to authority, or record reference are deemed forfeited or without merit].)

Father further claims the trial court erred in its allocation of parenting time for purposes of calculating child support. Father also asks this court to reduce his child support obligations for two weeks in June 2008 and the month of October 2008 in light of his paid family leave benefits. We construe this as a claim that the trial court also erred in calculating child support during those specific periods of time. Father fails to cite any legal authority or make any legal argument in support of his claims. Accordingly, these claims also are forfeited. (Troensgaard, supra, 175 Cal.App.3d at p. 228.)

Regardless, with no reporter's transcript of the trial, we must presume the court found sufficient evidence to support the allocation of parenting time and calculation of child support. (Ehrler, supra, 126 Cal.App.3d at p. 154.) On the face of this record, we find nothing to suggest otherwise. (National Secretarial, supra, 210 Cal.App.3d at p. 521; Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.163.)

Father contends the trial court erred in denying his request that mother pay $500 to father for the Family Code section 3110 custody evaluation. Again, father fails to cite any legal authority or make any legal argument in support of his contention. Accordingly, this claim also is forfeited. (Troensgaard, supra, 175 Cal.App.3d at p. 228.)

In any event, with no reporter's transcript of that hearing, we must presume the court found sufficient evidence to refuse father's request. (Ehrler, supra, 126 Cal.App.3d at p. 154.) On the face of this record, we find nothing to suggest otherwise. (National Secretarial, supra, 210 Cal.App.3d at p. 521; Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.163.)

Father asks that mother "be required" to pay travel expenses he incurred between June 15, 2007, and December 15, 2007. The issue of travel expenses was not addressed in the order from which father appeals. Accordingly, the issue is not properly before this court and we cannot consider it.

Relying on a prior court order compelling mother to complete domestic violence anger management classes, father demands that mother "be made to comply with the order immediately" and "should relinquish all rights to the children by remanding their custody to [him]" if those classes are not completed by March 31, 2010. Father misunderstands the role of this court. We do not issue orders, we review them; his demands are thus not well taken.*fn2

DISPOSITION

The order of the trial court is affirmed.

We concur:

NICHOLSON , Acting P. J.

BUTZ , J.


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