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Dieterle v. Dieterle

Supreme Court of North Dakota

February 18, 2016

Shannon Dieterle, Plaintiff and Appellee
v.
Angela Dieterle, n/k/a/ Angela Hansen, Defendant and Appellant

As Corrected March 15, 2016.

Appeal from the District Court of Sheridan County, South Central Judicial District, the Honorable David E. Reich, Judge.

Rodney E. Pagel, for plaintiff and appellee.

Angela Hansen, Granville, N.D., defendant and appellant.

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

OPINION

Page 480

Carol Ronning Kapsner, Justice.

[¶1] Angela Dieterle, now known as Angela Hansen, appeals from an order finding her in contempt of court for failing to cooperate in the sale of marital property and failing to follow a parenting plan. We conclude the district court did not abuse its discretion in finding Hansen in contempt, and we affirm.

I

[¶2] In Dieterle v. Dieterle, 2013 ND 71, ¶ ¶ 1, 39, 830 N.W.2d 571, we affirmed a judgment granting Shannon Dieterle and Hansen a divorce, awarding Dieterle primary responsibility of the parties' minor child, ordering Dieterle to pay Hansen spousal support, distributing the parties' marital property, and ordering the sale of the parties' ranch and equal distribution of the net proceeds from the sale. We also remanded for the district court to issue a parenting plan consistent with the best interests of the minor child. Id. at ¶ ¶ 1, 20, 39.

[¶3] After protracted proceedings and hearings at which Hansen was represented by counsel, the district court issued an order on December 26, 2014, establishing a parenting plan and addressing various other motions by the parties. The court prefaced its decision with " concerns about [Hansen's] credibility [noting s]he was evasive on the stand during the hearings and provided little useful information to the court regarding the best interests of the child." The court explained:

The facts as set forth in the record from the trial and from the hearings on remand makes it abundantly clear that the parties do not get along with each other [and] are unable to effectively communicate regarding the best interests of B.L.D. Of particular concern is the difficultly experienced by the parties during the exchanges for parenting time. The exchanges have become traumatic, drawn-out affairs, even when law enforcement and or other third parties are involved. Although [Hansen] asserts that B.L.D. suffers from separation anxiety and adjustment disorder which

Page 481

leads to difficulty during the exchanges, the weight of the evidence indicates that the behavior of [Hansen] during her parenting time and during the exchanges is the primary cause of difficulties experienced. The conduct of [Hansen] appears to be geared toward alienating the child from her father. It is behavior which the court will not tolerate and, if it persists it, will result in reduced, and possibly supervised, parenting time for [Hansen].

[¶4] The district court denied Dieterle's motion to find Hansen in contempt and Hansen's motion to modify primary residential responsibility. In denying Dieterle's motion to find Hansen in contempt, the court explained that although she had not complied with the court's previous decision for distribution of marital property, including executing a listing agreement for the sale of the parties' ranch, her actions were not an intentional disobedience of the court's order. The court said, however, any further attempts to delay distribution of the marital property would not be tolerated, and the court ordered Hansen to sign a listing agreement for the sale of the ranch within 14 days. The court also awarded Dieterle ...


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