Justia Family Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in North Dakota Supreme Court

by
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

by
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

by
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

by
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

by
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

by
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

by
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

by
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

by
Bruce Wayne Lee appealed a final judgment and decree of divorce from his marriage to Kimberly Lee. On appeal, Bruce argued the district court erred in its valuation of marital assets and the allocation of the marital estate. He also contended he was prejudiced by the district court’s six-month delay in issuing a final judgment. Finding no abuse of discretion or other reversible error, the North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed. View "Lee v. Lee" on Justia Law

by
Stacy Tschider appealed and Melanie Tschider, also known as Su Lin Tschider, cross-appealed a judgment that granted joint parenting responsibility of their minor child and awarded child support, distributed the parties’ property and debts, and awarded spousal support to Melanie. Shortly before their marriage, both parties signed a prenuptial agreement in December 2002. The parties began dating in 1995 and began living together in 1996. At the time of their marriage, Melanie had a net worth of less than $50,000 and annual income of $55,548. Stacy had a net worth of $1,783,500 and an annual income of about $245,000. He had ownership interests in six businesses with a book value of about $2.9 million and five parcels of investment real estate, resulting in substantial annual income. In August 2015, Melanie filed for divorce. The North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the district court erred in holding a provision of the parties’ prenuptial agreement was unconscionable and unenforceable and erred in awarding spousal support. However, the Court concluded the court’s property distribution was not clearly erroneous and the court did not abuse its discretion in denying Melanie's request for attorney fees. The matter was remanded for further proceedings. View "Tschider v. Tschider, et al." on Justia Law