from the District Court of Grand Forks County, Northeast
Central Judicial District, the Honorable Donald Hager, Judge.
F. Coleman, Grand Forks, ND, for plaintiff and appellant.
L. Hankey, Grand Forks, ND, for defendant and appellee.
1] Brittany Green appeals from a district court's order
denying her motion to relocate with the parties' minor
child and granting Scott Swiers' motion to modify
parenting time. Green argues the district court erred in
denying the motion to relocate because it did not properly
analyze and weigh the Stout-Hawkinson factors. Green
also argues the district court erred in finding a material
change in circumstance sufficient to justify modification of
parenting time. We affirm.
2] Green and Swiers are the parents of a minor child, ILS,
born in June 2016. Shortly after ILS's birth, the parties
terminated their relationship and a disagreement arose
regarding their parenting time with ILS. After participating
in North Dakota's family law mediation program, the
parties stipulated to the terms of their parenting time. In
October 2016, the district court adopted the parties'
stipulation and ordered the entry of a judgment providing
Green with primary residential responsibility of ILS subject
to a parenting schedule for Swiers.
3] In May 2017, Swiers filed a motion to modify primary
residential responsibility or in the alternative, modify
parenting time. Green opposed Swiers' motion and sought
approval from the district court to relocate to Seattle,
Washington, where she planned to reside with her
fiancé. The district court denied Swiers' request
to modify primary residential responsibility, granted his
motion to modify the parenting time schedule, and denied
Green's motion to relocate with ILS.
4] Green argues the district court erred by denying her
motion to relocate with the minor child. "A district
court's decision on a motion to relocate is a finding of
fact, which will not be reversed on appeal unless it is
clearly erroneous." Larson v. Larson, 2016 ND
76, ¶ 21, 878 N.W.2d 54. "A finding of fact is
clearly erroneous if it is induced by an erroneous view of
the law, there is no evidence to support it, or, if there is
some evidence to support the finding, on the entire record we
are left with a definite and firm conviction a mistake has
been made." Graner v. Graner, 2007 ND 139,
¶ 12, 738 N.W.2d 9. "In applying the clearly
erroneous standard, we will not reweigh evidence, reassess
witness credibility, retry a custody case, or substitute our
judgment for the trial court's decision merely because
this Court may have reached a different result."
Hammeren v. Hammeren, 2012 ND 225, ¶ 8, 823
5] Section 14-09-07(1), N.D.C.C., provides "[a] parent
with primary residential responsibility for a child may not
change the primary residence of the child to another state
except upon order of the court or with the consent of the
other parent, if the other parent has been given parenting
time by the decree." "The parent moving for
permission to relocate has the burden of proving by a
preponderance of the evidence the move is in the child's
best interests." Larson, 2016 ND 76, ¶ 21,
878 N.W.2d 54. To determine whether relocation is in the
child's best interest, the district court must apply the
four factors outlined in Stout v. Stout, 1997 ND 61,
¶ 33, 560 N.W.2d 903, and modified in Hawkinson v.
Hawkinson, 1999 ND 58, ¶ 9, 591 N.W.2d 144. Those
factors generally read as follows:
1. The prospective advantages of the move in improving the
custodial parent's and child's quality of life,
2. The integrity of the custodial parent's motive for
relocation, considering whether it is to defeat or deter