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In Re the Marriage of Reema and Vikas Sareen. v. Vikas Sareen

March 22, 2012

IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF REEMA AND VIKAS SAREEN. REEMA SAREEN, RESPONDENT,
v.
VIKAS SAREEN, APPELLANT.



(Super. Ct. No. 06FL00798)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mauro , J.

Marriage of Sareen 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NOT TO BE PUBLISHED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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Vikas Sareen (father) appeals from orders denying his motions to stay child support, to modify child support and to set aside a default judgment. Father raises numerous claims on appeal, but without a reporter's transcript we must assume there was sufficient evidence presented in the trial court to support the trial court's rulings.

We find no error on the face of this record. We will affirm the trial court's orders.

BACKGROUND

Father 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 proceedings in the trial court. This is referred to as a "judgment roll" appeal. (Allen v. Toten (1985) 172 Cal.App.3d 1079, 1082-1083; Krueger v. Bank of America (1983) 145 Cal.App.3d 204, 207.)

The limited appellate record establishes that the Sacramento County Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) requested, and the trial court entered, a default judgment regarding father's parental obligations as they relate to S.S., a child born in February 2004. The default judgment required father to pay $1,354 per month in child support.

Father made a motion to stay the child support order and its enforcement. His motion was denied.

Father also filed a motion to modify child support based on changed circumstances. He asserted, among other things, that he no longer had income because he was required to relocate to India. The motion was heard by Commissioner Harmon. Father appeared by telephone, while DCSS and mother, represented by counsel, appeared in the courtroom. Following evidence and argument, Commissioner Harmon concluded that father failed to establish changed circumstances. Commissioner Harmon found that father was employed by the New York Port Authority, that he could return to that job at any time, and that there was insufficient evidence to establish that he was required to remain in India. Accordingly, Commissioner Harmon denied father's motion to modify child support. Judge Wood subsequently presided over a trial de novo on father's motion to modify child support. Father again appeared by telephone. The trial court adopted the findings and recommendations issued by Commissioner Harmon, making Commissioner Harmon's statement of decision the order of the court.

In addition, father filed a motion to set aside the default judgment, arguing among other things that he had reason to believe he was not the biological father of S.S. But when Reema Sareen (mother) agreed to participate in paternity testing, the test results established a 99.999 percent chance that father was the biological father of S.S. Father's motion to set aside the default judgment was heard in a long cause evidentiary hearing. Father appeared by telephone. At the conclusion of the hearing, Commissioner Longaker ruled that no evidence was produced or offered to establish that father is not the biological father, and no evidence was produced by way of DNA testing that father is excluded as the biological father; accordingly, the default judgment based on the conclusive presumption applying to a child born during the marriage of mother and father was not set aside.

Judge Balonon granted father's request for a trial de novo on father's motion to stay the child support order and his motion to set aside the default judgment. The trial court gave father permission to appear telephonically for the trial on his motion to stay the child support order, but denied father's request to appear telephonically for the trial on his motion to set aside the default judgment. Judge Balonon ruled that absent a stipulation by the parties, the trial court would not permit hearsay evidence regarding the DNA testing, and witnesses would be required to appear and testify at trial concerning that issue.

Father filed an objection to admission of the existing DNA test results. The trial court ordered DCSS to provide father and mother with a copy of the genetic testing records. The trial court also stated that although father included in his objection a request that the court make a definitive decision on the applicability of the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) (Fam. Code, ยง 4900 et seq.), the only issue presented to the court regarding the applicability of UIFSA ...


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