Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In re Parenting of N.M.V.

Supreme Court of Montana

December 13, 2016

IN RE THE PARENTING OF N.M.V., Minor Child, DUSTIN E. CROSS, Petitioner and Appellant, and ERIN VERPLOEGEN, Respondent and Appellee.

          Submitted on Briefs: October 5, 2016

         APPEAL FROM: District Court of the Twelfth Judicial District, In and For the County of Hill, Cause No. DR-11-21 Honorable Daniel A. Boucher, Presiding Judge COUNSEL OF RECORD:

          For Appellant: Jeremy S. Yellin, Attorney at Law, Havre, Montana

          For Appellee: Brian Lilletvedt, Bosch, Kuhr, Dugdale, Martin & Kaze PLLP, Havre, Montana

          OPINION

          Patricia Cotter, Justice

         ¶1 Dustin E. Cross appeals from the Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Final Visitation Plan entered by the Montana Twelfth Judicial District Court, Hill County, awarding him visitation rights but denying him a parental interest in N.M.V., a minor child and daughter of Cross's former girlfriend, Erin J. Verploegen. We affirm.

         ISSUE

         ¶2 The issue on appeal is whether the District Court abused its discretion in denying Cross a parental interest in N.M.V.

         BACKGROUND

         ¶3 Cross and Verploegen began dating in December 2001, less than one year after N.M.V. was born. N.M.V.'s biological father, Roger Gonzales, has had no contact with N.M.V. and his whereabouts are currently unknown. Verploegen and N.M.V. moved into Cross's Bozeman townhome in June 2003. During the time they lived together in Bozeman, Verploegen made all critical decisions about N.M.V.'s upbringing, including decisions about healthcare, daycare, and the everyday rules N.M.V. was to abide. Cross worked long hours and most weekends, but he would read to N.M.V. at night and picked her up from daycare once or twice when Verploegen was unavailable. Cross paid the rent on the townhouse while Verploegen paid utilities and bought groceries.

         ¶4 In the summer of 2004, Cross bought a house in Churchill, Montana, near Bozeman. Cross changed jobs after moving to Churchill, and claimed that he began to play a more active role in parenting N.M.V. Cross testified that he and Verploegen discussed what school N.M.V. would attend. He also said he began picking up N.M.V. from daycare more often, cooking food for her, and disciplining her. Verploegen continued to pay for utilities and groceries after the move to Churchill, but in 2007, she began paying an additional $500 per month in rent to Cross. From time to time, Verploegen and Cross discussed marriage and Cross's adoption of N.M.V., but those talks subsided in 2009 when Cross and Verploegen broke up and Verploegen and N.M.V. moved to Havre, Montana. In February 2011, Cross petitioned the District Court for a parenting interest in N.M.V. pursuant to § 40-4-228(2), MCA. The District Court denied Cross's petition. He appeals.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         ¶5 We review a district court's findings of fact for clear error, and we will affirm findings if they are supported by substantial credible evidence. Kulstad v. Maniaci, 2009 MT 326, ¶ 51, 352 Mont. 513, 220 P.3d 595. Ultimately, the language of ยง 40-4-228(2), MCA, is permissive and a district court's ruling is discretionary. Thus, under these circumstances, we will overturn the district court only if it abused its discretion or if ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.