from the District Court of Wells County, Southeast Judicial
District, the Honorable James D. Hovey, Judge.
R. Craig, Minot, ND, for plaintiff and appellant.
C. Hays-Johnson, Minot, ND, for defendant and appellee.
VandeWalle, Chief Justice.
1] Brent Thompson appealed the district court's judgment
awarding split residential responsibility and requiring Brent
to pay spousal support. We affirm, concluding the district
court's award of split residential responsibility and
spousal support was adequately supported by the record.
2] Brent and Jeanna Thompson married in 1999, and Brent filed
for divorce in 2015. The parties have three minor children,
C.M.T., C.F.T., and C.L.T. When the parties initially
separated in 2015, C.F.T. chose to reside with Jeanna and
C.M.T. chose to reside with Brent--C.L.T. went back and forth
between the two households.
3] At trial, Brent requested primary residential
responsibility of all three children. Each of the children
expressed a preference for primary residence. C.F.T. and
C.L.T. prefer to reside primarily with Jeanna, and C.M.T.
prefers to reside with Brent.
4] The district court entered a divorce judgment dividing the
parties' assets and debts, granting split residential
responsibility, and awarding Jeanna spousal support. In
coming to its determination for spousal support, the district
court utilized the Ruff-Fischer guidelines; for
residential responsibility, the district court utilized the
best interest factors outlined in N.D.C.C. § 14-09-06.2.
5] Section 14-09-06.2(1), N.D.C.C., provides factors for
evaluating the best interests and welfare of the child in
awarding residential responsibility. The best-interest
a. The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing
between the parents and child and the ability of each parent
to provide the child with nurture, love, affection, and
b. The ability of each parent to assure that the child
receives adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and
a safe environment.
c. The child's developmental needs and the ability of
each parent to meet those needs, both in the present and in
d. The sufficiency and stability of each parent's home
environment, the impact of extended family, the length of
time the child has lived in each parent's home, and the
desirability of maintaining continuity in the child's
home and community.
e. The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate
and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the
other parent and the child.
f. The moral fitness of the parents, as that fitness impacts
g. The mental and physical health of the parents, as that
health impacts the child.
h. The home, school, and community records of the child and
the potential effect of any change.
i. If the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that a
child is of sufficient maturity to make a sound judgment, the
court may give substantial weight to the preference of the
mature child. The court also shall give due consideration to
other factors that may have affected the child's
preference, including ...