Patricia Lynn Schurmann, n/k/a Patricia Lynn Heidt, Plaintiff and Appellant
Ralf Stefan Schurmann, Defendant and Appellee
from the District Court of Grand Forks County, Northeast
Central Judicial District, the Honorable Lolita G. Hartl
L. Johnston (argued), DeWayne A. Johnston (appeared), and
Shay O'Brien (on brief), third-year law student, under
the Rule on Limited Practice of Law by Law Students, Grand
Forks, N.D., for plaintiff and appellant.
Johnson III, Grand Forks, N.D., for defendant and appellee.
Sandstrom, Daniel J. Crothers, Lisa Fair McEvers, Carol
Ronning Kapsner, Gerald W. VandeWalle, C.J. Opinion of the
Court by Sandstrom, Justice.
V. Sandstrom, Justice.
[¶1] Patricia Schurmann, now known as
Patricia Heidt, appeals after the district court modified
parenting time and child support. She argues the district
court failed to properly weigh evidence of domestic violence
in increasing Ralf Schurmann's parenting time. She also
argues the court should not have reduced child support. We
affirm the district court's order regarding parenting
time, and reverse and remand the order regarding child
[¶2] In January 2013, Schurmann and Heidt
were divorced. The couple has three children. The parties
stipulated to the terms of the divorce, and the district
court awarded primary residential responsibility and child
support to Heidt and parenting time to Schurmann. Under the
original divorce judgment, Schurmann was allowed to spend
time with the children one time per month for up to seven
days in Grand Forks. He was also allowed to spend time with
the children two times per year in Arizona, where he resided.
His parenting time was to increase incrementally as the
children grew older. During his parenting time in Arizona,
Heidt was entitled to daily visitation. The judgment required
both parents to accompany the children on all flights between
North Dakota and Arizona until the youngest child reached the
age of 7. This required Schurmann to fly to North Dakota to
Heidt and the children, fly back to Arizona to exercise
parenting time, and then fly again to North Dakota with Heidt
and the children at the end of his parenting time in Arizona.
Both parties were responsible for their own travel and
accommodation expenses and were to split the costs of two
trips for the children. Any additional trips were
Schurmann's financial responsibility. He was also
required to pay $1,600 per month in child support.
[¶3] After the divorce, Schurmann moved
between cities but continued to reside in Arizona. Heidt and
the children moved from Grand Forks to Grafton. Both parties
remarried following the divorce.
[¶4] In January 2015, Schurmann moved to
modify his parenting time and child support obligation. He
said there had been a material change in circumstances
warranting modification. In a supporting affidavit, he
alleged the original parenting plan was impractical, given
the parties' different locations; he was being alienated
from the children in multiple ways; Heidt interfered during
his parenting time; and the children were not being
adequately supervised and cared for while in her home.
[¶5] The district court, finding there had
been a material change in circumstances warranting
modification, increased Schurmann's parenting time and
decreased his child support obligation. Heidt appealed.
[¶6] The district court had jurisdiction
under N.D. Const. art. VI, § 8, and N.D.C.C. §
27-05-06. The appeal is timely under N.D.R.App.P. 4(a). This
Court has jurisdiction under ...