Justia Family Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in North Dakota Supreme Court
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Becky Jo Krump-Wootton appealed a district court order denying her request to change the school location for the parties’ children, and denying her request to modify the parties’ parenting time. Daniel Krump cross-appealed the denial of his request for modification of primary responsibility. The parties were divorced in 2012. Becky was awarded primary residential responsibility of the parties’ two children and Daniel was allocated parenting time with the children. The judgment required the parties to agree on the children’s education; the children attended school in Hankinson, North Dakota. Becky remarried and her husband lived in Lisbon, North Dakota, about 65 miles from Hankinson. Believing Becky would remove the children from school in Hankinson and enroll them in school in Lisbon, Daniel filed a motion seeking to enforce the provision of the judgment requiring the parties to agree on the children’s education to prevent Becky from enrolling the children in Lisbon. Daniel also sought modification of primary residential responsibility. Becky opposed the modification of primary residential responsibility and filed a motion seeking to modify Daniel's parenting time to accommodate enrolling the children in school in Lisbon. The court found a prima facie case for modification of primary residential responsibility. After review, the North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s judgment denying Becky's motion to modify parenting time, Daniel's motion to modify primary residential responsibility, and its amendment of the judgment providing the children would attend school in Hankinson. View "Krump-Wooton v. Krump" on Justia Law

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Jared Taylor appealed a domestic violence protection order prohibiting him from coming within 300 feet of Brianne Clarke for two years. Taylor argued the district court erred in finding he committed domestic violence, failed to make a specific finding about the threat made to Clarke, and failed to find that Clarke was in actual or imminent fear of harm. Concluding the district court’s findings were sufficient to support the issuance of a protection order, the North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed. View "Clarke v. Taylor" on Justia Law

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Yanjun Zuo appealed a district court judgment and post-judgment orders awarding Yuanyuan Wang marital property, spousal support, and primary residential responsibility of the parties’ minor child. Zuo argues the court erred in its evidentiary decisions at trial, and erred in awarding spousal support and primary residential responsibility to Wang. He also argued the court erred in backdating child support. Because an interim trial court order provided child support would not begin until the month following entry of judgment, the North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the district court abused its discretion by backdating Zuo’s child support obligation to February 1, 2017, and reversed and remanded for entry of judgment ruling Zuo’s child support obligation began the month following entry of judgment. The Supreme Court affirmed in all other respects. View "Zuo v. Wang" on Justia Law

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Sarah Tarver appealed a district court judgment dividing her and Daniel Tarver’s marital estate and establishing spousal and child support. The North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the district court erred in its determination of spousal support. Therefore, the Court reversed and remanded on the issue of spousal support. View "Tarver v. Tarver" on Justia Law

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Matthew Lindseth appealed an amended judgment ordering him to pay Alaina Minyard $1,216 per month in child support. The North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed, concluding the district court did not err in determining Lindseth’s income for child support purposes. View "Minyard v. Lindseth" on Justia Law

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Adam Lizakowski appealed a district court judgment and post-judgment orders awarding Tonia Lizakowski marital property, primary residential responsibility of the parties’ minor children, and attorney’s fees. The North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the court erroneously excluded property from the marital estate. The Court affirmed in all other respects, and remanded this case for further proceedings. View "Lizakowski v. Lizakowski" on Justia Law

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W.C. appealed a district court order denying his petition to adjudicate paternity and seeking a determination of residential responsibility, decision making responsibility, parenting time, and child support. W.C. alleges he was the father of a child born to J.H. In November 2013. W.C. and J.H. began a romantic relationship in late 2012 while J.H was married to T.H. The couple divorced in June 2013. Because J.H. gave birth to the child within 300 days of the divorce, T.H. was the presumed father under North Dakota law. The child’s birth certificate did not list a father. In 2018, after the statute of limitations for challenging a presumed father expired, W.C. commenced an action to adjudicate paternity of the child, seeking a determination of residential responsibility, decision making responsibility, parenting time, and child support. The district court scheduled an evidentiary hearing. Before the hearing, J.H. filed a motion to quash discovery, arguing W.C.’s requests for financial and medical records were not relevant, onerous, grossly invasive, and even if provided could not establish facts to support the relief sought in the petition. The district court granted the motion to quash discovery, finding medical and financial records were not relevant. The court thereafter held a hearing on the paternity claim, hearing testimony from W.C., J.H., and T.H. Based on testimony and interrogatory answers from T.H. the district court found W.C. failed to disprove the parent-child relationship. The district court also found W.C. failed to establish T.H. and J.H. did not cohabitate nor engage in a sexual relationship during the probable time of conception. The district court denied W.C.’s petition. W.C. argued on appeal of the district court order that the court abused its discretion in granting a motion quashing discovery. Finding no error, the North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed. View "W.C. v. J.H., et al." on Justia Law

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Kimberlee Erickson, formerly known as Markegard, appealed and Brian Willoughby cross-appealed an order and amended judgment terminating Willoughby’s spousal support obligation. Erickson argued the district court erred in terminating her spousal support, and Willoughby argued the court erred by failing to make its order terminating support retroactive to the date of the service of his motion. Finding no reversible error, the North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed. View "Markegard v. Willoughby" on Justia Law

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Rebecca Benjamin appealed a district court’s judgment awarding primary residential responsibility of the minor child P.J.K. to James Klundt and changing the child’s last name to Klundt. The North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed the judgment as to primary residential responsibility and reversed the court’s judgment regarding its sua sponte change of the minor child’s last name. View "Klundt v. Benjamin" on Justia Law

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Steve Wolt appealed a judgment setting his monthly child support obligation at $923, and an order denying his motion for sanctions against the State and its attorney for allegedly frivolous legal positions posited during the child support proceedings. After review, the North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the district court correctly interpreted the Child Support Guidelines in calculating Wolt’s child support obligation and, accordingly, affirmed the judgment and the order. View "Wolt v. Wolt, et al." on Justia Law