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2012-UP-316 - Zetz v. Zetz

THIS OPINION HAS NO PRECEDENTIAL VALUE.  IT SHOULD NOT BE CITED OR RELIED ON AS PRECEDENT IN ANY PROCEEDING EXCEPT AS PROVIDED BY RULE 268(d)(2), SCACR.

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Court of Appeals

Elizabeth M. Zetz, Appellant,

v.

Michael R. Zetz, Respondent.

Appellate Case No. 2011-183049


Appeal From Richland County
Robert S. Armstrong, Family Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2012-UP-316

Heard May 9, 2012 – Filed May 23, 2012


AFFIRMED


Pope D. Johnson, III, of Johnson & Barnette, LLP, of Columbia, for Appellant.

Howard S. Sheftman, of Finkel Law Firm, LLC, of Columbia, for Respondent.


PER CURIAM: Elizabeth M. Zetz appeals the family court's order modifying the child support previously awarded in a final settlement.  On appeal, she argues the family court erred in (1) modifying the child support, (2) improperly applying the child support guidelines, and (3) finding sufficient evidence to warrant a reduction of child support.  We affirm pursuant to Rule 220(b)(1), SCACR, and the following authorities:

1. As to whether the family court applied the proper standard in determining whether to modify Michael R. Zetz's child support obligation: Floyd v. Morgan, 383 S.C. 469, 475, 681 S.E.2d 570, 573 (2009) ("A child support award rests in the discretion of the [family court] judge, and will not be altered on appeal absent abuse of discretion."); Degenhart v. Burriss, 360 S.C. 497, 500, 602 S.E.2d 96, 97 (Ct. App. 2004) ("An abuse of discretion occurs when the decision is controlled by some error of law or is based on findings of fact that are without evidentiary support."); Miles v. Miles, 393 S.C. 111, 120-21, 711 S.E.2d 880, 885 (2011) ("[W]hile the burden to prove entitlement to a modification of spousal or child support is a substantial one, the same burden applies whether the family court order in question emanated from an order following a contested hearing or a hearing to approve an agreement."); Lewis v. Lewis,  392 S.C. 381, 389 n.5, 709 S.E.2d 650, 654 n.5 (2011) ("'[T]he appellant is not relieved of his burden of convincing the appellate court the trial judge committed error in his findings."' (quoting Pinckney v. Warren, 344 S.C. 382, 387–88, 544 S.E.2d 620, 623 (2001))).

2. As to whether the family court erred in evaluating and applying the child support guidelines: Bennett v. Rector, 389 S.C. 274, 281, 697 S.E.2d 715, 719 (Ct. App. 2010) ("Generally, the family court is required to follow the [g]uidelines in determining the amount of child support."); Woodall v. Woodall, 322 S.C. 7, 13, 471 S.E.2d 154, 158 (1996) (holding that while the guidelines govern all actions involving child support, the family court retains discretion when making the final award); S.C. Code Ann. Regs. 114-4710(B) (Supp. 2011) ("Deviation from the guidelines should be the exception rather than the rule.  When the court deviates, it must make written findings that clearly state the nature and extent of the variation from the guidelines.").

3. As to whether the family court erred in reducing the child support: Barrow v. Barrow, 394 S.C. 603, 609, 716 S.E.2d 302, 305 (Ct. App. 2011) ("The party contesting the family court's decision bears the burden of demonstrating the family court's factual findings are not supported by the preponderance of the evidence.").

AFFIRMED.

Pieper, Konduros, and GEATHERS, JJ., concur.