Tina Andrea Johnson n/k/a Tina Andrea Berndt, Plaintiff and Appellee
Matthew Vaughn Johnson, Defendant and Appellant
from the District Court of McHenry County, Northeast Judicial
District, the Honorable Lee A. Christofferson, Judge.
Michael S. McIntee, Towner, ND, for plaintiff and appellee.
R. Craig, Minot, ND, for defendant and appellant.
VandeWalle, Chief Justice.
1] Matthew Johnson appealed a district court's order
awarding two of the three tax exemptions for the children to
Tina Johnson. Matthew Johnson argues the district court erred
by not holding an oral argument and failing to make explicit
findings on who would benefit the most from having the tax
exemptions. Matthew Johnson did not request an oral argument
and the district court's findings were not clearly
erroneous; therefore, we affirm.
2] Tina Johnson and Matthew Johnson have three minor children
and were divorced in 2013. Through a stipulation, Tina
Johnson was awarded primary residential responsibility with
Matthew Johnson paying $596 a month in child support. The
stipulation also laid out a schedule for claiming the tax
exemptions for the children: Tina Johnson and Matthew Johnson
would alternate claiming two children one year and one child
3] In October 2016, Tina Johnson filed a motion to enforce
the judgment asking the district court to require Matthew
Johnson to pay the debt on a vehicle and to award her two of
the children's tax exemptions permanently. Tina Johnson
requested an oral argument on her motion and a date was set.
Matthew Johnson opposed Tina Johnson's request for the
tax exemptions. The district court canceled the oral argument
and granted Tina Johnson's request for the tax
4] On appeal, Matthew Johnson argues the district court: (1)
erred when it issued its order without holding the requested
oral argument and (2) was clearly erroneous when it awarded
Tina Johnson two tax exemptions.
5] Rule 3.2(a)(3) of the North Dakota Rules of Court states:
If any party who has timely served and filed a brief requests
oral argument, the request must be granted. A timely request
for oral argument must be granted even if the moving party
has previously served notice indicating that the motion is to
be decided on briefs. The party requesting oral argument must
secure a time for the argument and serve notice upon all
other parties.... If the party requesting oral argument fails
within 14 days of the request to secure a time for the
argument, the request is waived and the matter is considered
submitted for decision on the briefs.
6] Tina Johnson timely served and filed her brief, requested
oral argument, secured a date, and notified Matthew Johnson.
The oral argument was scheduled for December 22, 2016;
however, on December 1, the district court granted Tina
Johnson's motion. Matthew Johnson argues the district
court erred in granting Tina Johnson relief without holding
the oral argument. Matthew Johnson did not request an ...