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Krump-Wootton v. Krump

Supreme Court of North Dakota

November 20, 2019

Becky Jo Krump-Wootton, f/k/a Becky Jo Krump, Plaintiff, Appellant, and Cross-Appellee
v.
Daniel Paul Krump, Defendant, Appellee, and Cross-Appellant and State of North Dakota, Statutory Real Party in Interest

          Appeal from the District Court of Richland County, Southeast Judicial District, the Honorable Bradley A. Cruff, Judge.

          William Woodworth, Bismarck, N.D., for plaintiff, appellant, and cross-appellee.

          Leah M. Warner, Fargo, N.D., for defendant, appellee, and cross-appellant.

          OPINION

          JENSEN, JUSTICE.

         [¶1] Becky Jo Krump-Wootton [Becky Krump-Wootton], appeals from a district court order denying her request to change the school location for the parties' children and denying her request to modify the parties' parenting time. Daniel Paul Krump [Daniel Krump] cross-appeals the denial of his request for modification of primary responsibility. We affirm.

         I

         [¶2] The parties were divorced in 2012. Becky Krump-Wootton was awarded primary residential responsibility of the parties' two children and Daniel Krump was allocated parenting time with the children. The judgment requires the parties to agree on the children's education. The children have attended school in Hankinson, North Dakota.

         [¶3] Becky Krump-Wootton has remarried and her husband lives in Lisbon, North Dakota, about 65 miles from Hankinson. Believing Becky Krump-Wootton would remove the children from school in Hankinson and enroll them in school in Lisbon, Daniel Krump filed a motion seeking to enforce the provision of the judgment requiring the parties to agree on the children's education to prevent Becky Krump-Wootton from enrolling the children in Lisbon. Daniel Krump also sought modification of primary residential responsibility. Becky Krump-Wootton opposed the modification of primary residential responsibility and filed a motion seeking to modify Daniel Krump's parenting time to accommodate enrolling the children in school in Lisbon.

         [¶4] The court found a prima facie case for modification of primary residential responsibility as required by N.D.C.C. § 14-09-06.6 and scheduled a combined hearing for resolution of all of the pending motions. At the beginning of the hearing, Becky Krump-Wootton requested the court approve the enrollment of the children in school in Lisbon.

         [¶5] Following the evidentiary hearing, the court issued its findings, conclusions of law, and order denying all of the pending motions. Daniel Krump moved to amend the findings as follows: 1) removing references to Daniel Krump's motion to modify primary residential responsibility as an "alternative" request for relief to the children staying in school in Hankinson; 2) finding a significant or material change in circumstances had occurred notwithstanding the children's continued attendance in the Hankinson Public School; 3) finding it is in the children's best interests for Daniel Krump to be awarded primary residential responsibility of the children; and 4) to specifically state that the children shall continue to attend the Hankinson Public School. The court granted Daniel Krump's motion to amend the findings with the exception of it being in the best interests of the children to modify primary residential responsibility.

         II

         [¶6] Daniel Krump filed a motion seeking to dismiss Becky Krump-Wootton's appeal asserting she failed to comply with several of our rules of appellate procedure. See N.D.R.App.P. 3(a). In the alternative to dismissal, Daniel Krump seeks a recovery of attorney fees. See N.D.R.App.P. 13.

         [¶7] Failure to adhere to our rules of appellate procedure can result in the dismissal of an appeal. N.D.R.App.P. 3(a)(2). While dismissal is permissible, this Court has been reluctant to dismiss an appeal and generally desires to reach the merits of a case. Latendresse v. Latendresse, 283 N.W.2d 70, 71 (N.D.1979). "Whether to administer sanctions under N.D.R.App.P. 13 for noncompliance with the Rules of Appellate Procedure is discretionary with this Court." Silbernagel v. Silbernagel, 2007 ND 124, ¶ 21, 736 N.W.2d 441.

         [¶8] Although we agree with Daniel Krump regarding Becky Krump-Wootton's failure to adhere to our rules of appellate procedure, Becky Krump-Wootton's issues on appeal significantly overlap with the issues raised by Daniel Krump in his cross-appeal. The significant overlap between the parties' issues reduces the justification for dismissal of the appeal because Daniel Krump would have likely filed substantially the same materials and engaged in similar briefing regardless of Becky Krump-Wootton's failure to adhere to our rules. Under these ...


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