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Seay v. Seay

Supreme Court of North Dakota

February 12, 2015

Svetlana M. Seay, Plaintiff and Appellee
v.
Darren John Seay, Defendant and Appellant

Page 399

Appeal from the District Court of McIntosh County, Southeast Judicial District, the Honorable Daniel D. Narum, Judge.

Svetlana M. Seay, self-represented, West Fargo, ND, plaintiff and appellee; submitted on brief.

Donavin L. Grenz, Linton, ND, for defendant and appellant.

Carol Ronning Kapsner, Lisa Fair McEvers, Daniel J. Crothers, Dale V. Sandstrom, Gerald W. VandeWalle, C.J.

OPINION

Page 400

Kapsner, Justice.

[¶1] Darren Seay appeals from a district court judgment granting Svetlana Seay's motion to move with the parties' minor child out of North Dakota and denying his motion to modify primary residential responsibility. We reverse and remand for findings on the best interest factors.

I

[¶2] The parties married in June 2004 and divorced in September 2011. After a trial, Svetlana Seay was awarded primary residential responsibility of the parties' minor child and her seventeen-year-old son from a previous relationship, whom Darren Seay had adopted, and she was granted the right to move out of state with the children. However, the part of the judgment ordering that she may move out of state with the children without Darren Seay's consent or further order of the court was reversed by this Court in Seay v. Seay, 2012 ND 179, 820 N.W.2d 705.

[¶3] In February 2014, Svetlana Seay requested approval from the district court to relocate with the parties' minor child to Ohio to live with her new husband. Darren Seay opposed her motion and moved to modify residential responsibility, seeking an award of primary residential responsibility. Following a trial on both motions, the district court found there had been material changes in the parties' circumstances, namely Svetlana Seay's remarriage and her proposed move to Ohio. Because the court found the changes were " positive" and " not adverse to the child's best interests," it found it did " not need to further analyze the best interest factors" and instead, proceeded with an analysis of the Stout-Hawkinson relocation factors. The court granted Svetlana Seay's motion to move to Ohio with the child and denied Darren Seay's motion to modify primary residential responsibility.

II

[¶4] On appeal, Darren Seay argues the district court erred by neglecting to analyze the best interest factors before denying his motion to modify primary residential responsibility. He does not argue that the district court erred in ...


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