An unpublished opinion of the North Carolina Court of Appeals does not constitute controlling legal authority. Citation is disfavored, but may be permitted in accordance with the provisions of Rule 30(e)(3) of the North Carolina Rules of Appellate Proced ure.

NO. COA02-1231

NORTH CAROLINA COURT OF APPEALS

Filed: 1 July 2003

RODNEY ROW
    Plaintiff

v .                         Cumberland County
                            No. 00 CVD 2694
LEIGH ROW
    Defendant.

    Appeal by plaintiff from orders entered 13 November 2001 and filed 28 February 2002 by Judge L.W. Payne and entered 3 April 2002 by Judge A. Elizabeth Keever in Cumberland County District Court. Heard in the Court of Appeals 5 June 2003.

    Mast, Schulz, Mast, Mills, Stem & Johnson, P.A., by David F. Mills and George B. Mast, for plaintiff-appellant.

    Blackwell & Edwards, P.A., by Timothy D. Edwards, for defendant-appellee.

    TYSON, Judge.

    Rodney Row (“plaintiff”) appeals from an order denying plaintiff's request for modification of custody, modifying defendant's child support obligation, and denying plaintiff's request for deviation from the child support guidelines. We affirm in part, vacate in part, and remand.

I. Background
    Plaintiff and Leigh Row (now Deese) (“defendant”) were married on 10 April 1991. Kaytlyn was born of the marriage on 24 April 1991 and Gabrielle was born on 13 March 1995. Plaintiff is a career United States Army officer serving since 1984. Defendant isemployed as a pharmaceutical sales representative.
    The parties separated on or about 5 September 1999. On 5 April 2000, plaintiff filed suit seeking alimony, temporary and permanent custody of the children, child support, and equitable distribution. On 30 October 2000, pursuant to stipulations of the parties, the trial court found both plaintiff and defendant fit and proper persons to have joint custody of the minor children and found the best interest of the children were accomplished by an award of primary physical custody to defendant with secondary custody to plaintiff. Plaintiff was provided liberal visitation rights. Plaintiff was required to pay $700.00 per month in child support until the death of plaintiff, the death of the children, the children's completion of high school, or the reconciliation of plaintiff and defendant.
    In January 2001, defendant began dating Renny Deese and married him in the spring of 2001. In May 2001, plaintiff was transferred from Fort Bragg to Fort Schafter, Hawaii. Because of the transfer, the joint custody agreement was no longer workable. Plaintiff was unable to visit with his children from 10 July 2001 until the beginning of November 2001.
    The trial court held a hearing on 13 November 2001 to consider motions filed by both plaintiff and defendant for modification of custody and child support and plaintiff's motion to depart from the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines (“Guidelines”). At the hearing, the trial court found that difficulties of compliance with the prior visitation order “have not been excessive under thecircumstances; that it appears that both parties have generally acted in good faith in implementing the custody and visitation terms of the previous order.” The trial court found that the children's primary custody should remain with defendant and secondary custody with plaintiff.
    The trial court (1) denied plaintiff's request to deviate from the Guidelines, (2) made findings regarding the incomes of both plaintiff and defendant, (3) increased plaintiff's child support obligation, and (4) found “the Plaintiff has the means to pay said sum or the ability to take reasonable measures in order to pay the said amount.” Plaintiff appeals.
II. Issues
    Plaintiff contends the trial court erred in (1) denying plaintiff's request to modify custody, (2) denying plaintiff's request for deviation from the presumptive child support guidelines, (3) computing the child support obligations under the guidelines, and (4) increasing plaintiff's child support obligation.
III. Custody
    Plaintiff contends the trial court erred in denying his request to modify custody. We disagree.
    A court may modify child custody as between natural parents when the party seeking modification shows a substantial change in circumstances affecting the welfare of a child, and that a change in custody is in the best interest of the child. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50-13.7(a) (2001); Evans v. Evans, 138 N.C. App. 135, 530 S.E.2d576 (2000). “'[T]he modification of a custody decree must be supported by findings of fact based on competent evidence that there has been a substantial change of circumstances affecting the welfare of the child, and the party moving for such modification assumes the burden of showing such change of circumstances.'” Hassell v. Means, 42 N.C. App. 524, 530-31, 257 S.E.2d 123, 127 (1979) (quoting Blackley v. Blackley, 285 N.C. 358, 362, 204 S.E.2d 678, 681 (1974)).
    The trial court found two changed circumstances: plaintiff's transfer to Hawaii; and, defendant's remarriage. The trial court then ruled that primary custody remaining with defendant and secondary custody with plaintiff was in the best interest of the children.
    Plaintiff contends the trial court erred in its best interest analysis based on defendant's alleged contempt of the previous order. The trial court found that given the complexities of that order and complications arising from plaintiff's transfer to Hawaii, “the problems [were not] excessive” and that “the parties have generally acted in good faith in implementing the custody and visitation terms of the previous order.” This finding is supported by competent evidence.
    Plaintiff also argues the trial court failed to consider the children's school performance. The trial court found, while Kaytlyn had suffered academic problems, she “appears to be making improvements during the current year.” Evidence was presented that showed Kaytlyn's grade point average rising almost a point and ahalf, and that defendant was in constant contact with Kaytlyn's teachers to work on Kaytlyn's performance. The trial court's findings are supported by competent evidence in the record.
    Plaintiff failed to show that the trial court abused its discretion in finding the best interest of the children requires the continuation of primary physical custody with defendant and secondary custody with plaintiff.
IV. Child Support
    Plaintiff contends the trial court erred in increasing plaintiff's child support obligations and in failing to deviate from the guidelines.
    Child support orders entered by a trial court are accorded great deference by appellate courts and our review is limited to a determination of whether there was a clear abuse of discretion. White v. White, 312 N.C. 770, 777, 324 S.E.2d 829, 833 (1985). Under this standard of review, the trial court's ruling “will be upset only upon a showing that it was so arbitrary that it could not have been the result of a reasoned decision.” Id.
A. Request for Deviation
    N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50-13.4(c), which provides for the deviation from the Guidelines, states:
        upon request of any party, the Court shall hear evidence, and from the evidence, find the facts relating to the reasonable needs of the child for support and the relative ability of each parent to provide support. If, after considering the evidence, the Court finds by the greater weight of the evidence that the application of the guidelines would not meet or would exceed the reasonable needs of the child considering the relative ability of eachparent to provide support or would be otherwise unjust or inappropriate the Court may vary from the guidelines. If the court orders an amount other than the amount determined by application of the presumptive guidelines, the court shall make findings of fact as to the criteria that justify varying from the guidelines and the basis for the amount ordered.

The burden is on the moving party to show the Guidelines do not meet or exceed the reasonable needs of the children or are otherwise unjust or inappropriate. “'Although section 50-13.4(c) and the Guidelines require findings of fact only when the trial court deviates from the Guidelines, effective appellate review also requires findings to support a denial of a party's request for deviation.'” Leary v. Leary, 152 N.C. App. 438, 442, 567 S.E.2d 834, 837 (2002) (quoting Buncombe County ex rel Blair v. Jackson, 138 N.C. App. 284, 288, fn. 7, 531 S.E.2d 240, 243, fn. 7 (2000)).
    Here, plaintiff failed to present any evidence of the reasonable needs of the children or how the Guidelines would not meet or would exceed those needs. A trial court's findings must be based on evidence presented. If there is no evidence presented, then the trial court cannot make findings. The trial court did not err in finding insufficient evidence was presented at the hearing to deviate from the guidelines.
B. Increase in Child Support
    “An order of a court of this State for support of a minor child may be modified or vacated at any time, upon motion in the cause and a showing of changed circumstances by either party or anyone interested.” N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50-13.7(a). Modification ofa child support order involves a two step process. “The court must first determine a substantial change of circumstances has taken place; only then does it proceed to apply the Guidelines to calculate the applicable amount of support.” McGee v. McGee, 118 N.C. App. 19, 26-27, 453 S.E.2d 531, 536 (1995). Change of circumstances means “a substantial change in circumstances affecting the welfare of the child.” Pittman v. Pittman, 114 N.C. App. 808, 810, 443 S.E.2d 96, 97 (1994).
    In the present case, the trial court's only finding regarding change of circumstances is that “there have been at least two substantial change of circumstances in that the Plaintiff has relocated to the State of Hawaii and the Defendant has remarried.” Based upon the changes, the trial court changed the parties visitation schedule.
    The trial court imputed an income of $70,000 to defendant and found plaintiff's income to be $7,384 per month. Although the trial court found additional expenses of child care, private school, and health insurance, the trial court only stated additional expenses of $506 per month for the private school. The record does not contain a Worksheet A where the trial court determined plaintiff's child support obligations. A proposed worksheet A was prepared and presented as an exhibit to plaintiff's Rule 54 motion.
    Based on the incomes found by the trial court, the additional expenses actually found by the trial court, and the lack of a Worksheet, we are unable to determine whether the trial courtcorrectly followed the Guidelines in determining plaintiff's support obligations. We vacate the support order and remand to the trial court to redetermine the support obligations.
V. Conclusion
    The trial court did not abuse its discretion in finding the best interest of the children require the continuation of primary physical custody with defendant and secondary custody with plaintiff. That portion of the trial court order is affirmed.
    The trial court failed to make sufficient findings of fact and conclusions of law for this Court to determine whether the Guidelines were followed. We vacate the trial court's order of child support and remand to the trial court for additional findings of fact and conclusions of law.
    Affirmed in part, vacated in part and remanded.
    Judges MCGEE and CALABRIA concur.
    Report per Rule 30(e).

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