Appeal from the District Court of Morton County, South Central Judicial District, the Honorable Bruce A. Romanick, Judge.
Elizabeth A. Elsberry (argued) and Christopher E. Rausch (on brief), Bismarck, ND, for plaintiff and appellee.
Suzanne M. Schweigert (argued) and Leah R. Carlson (argued), Bismarck, ND, for defendant and appellant.
Daniel J. Crothers, Lisa Fair McEvers, Stacy J. Louser, D.J., Dale V. Sandstrom, Gerald W. VandeWalle, C.J. Honorable Stacy J. Louser, D.J., sitting in place of Kapsner, J., disqualified.
Daniel J. Crothers, Justice.
[¶1] Joshua Ritter appeals from a district court order denying his motion to modify primary residential responsibility of his two children. Joshua Ritter argues the district court erred in determining he failed to make a prima facie case that a material change in circumstances existed. We reverse and remand.
[¶2] In 2012 Joshua Ritter and Tara McDonald (formerly Tara Ritter) divorced via stipulation. The parties agreed Tara McDonald would have primary residential responsibility of their two minor children, Joshua Ritter's parenting time would be determined by mutual agreement and Tara McDonald would reasonably accommodate Joshua Ritter's requests for parenting time. The parties' parenting plan allowed Joshua Ritter two successive days of uninterrupted parenting time after giving Tara McDonald at least forty-eight hours notice and modification by mutual agreement. The district court adopted Joshua Ritter and Tara McDonald's agreed upon parenting plan in its order granting divorce.
[¶3] In 2015 Joshua Ritter filed a motion to modify primary residential responsibility with supporting affidavit requesting
the parties be awarded equal residential responsibility. Joshua Ritter's affidavit asserted a change in his employment after the divorce judgment constituted a material change warranting modification of primary residential responsibility. At the time of divorce Joshua Ritter was a commercial airline pilot and was out-of-town up to four nights a week. Because of his unpredictable work schedule, Joshua Ritter agreed Tara McDonald would have primary residential responsibility. Joshua Ritter now is a pilot for a Bismarck company and works 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
[¶4] Tara McDonald filed a brief and affidavit opposing Joshua Ritter's motion. Tara McDonald alleged Joshua Ritter's representation of his new work schedule was inaccurate and she has remarried since the divorce. Joshua Ritter's reply brief reaffirmed his new work schedule and presented Tara McDonald's remarriage as a second material change warranting modification of primary residential responsibility. The district court denied ...