IN RE THE PARENTING OF: R.W.W., A Minor Child.
WALTER E. WOLF, Respondent and Appellee. TRINA J. WOLF, Petitioner and Appellant.
Submitted on Briefs: June 21, 2017
FROM: District Court of the Eighteenth Judicial District, In
and For the County of Gallatin, Cause No. DR-13-380C
Honorable Brenda Gilbert, Presiding Judge
Appellant: Michael J. Uda, Dylan A. Wright, Uda Law Firm,
P.C., Helena, Montana.
Appellee: Leanne M. Schraudner, Schraudner & Hillier,
Bozeman, Montana Troy Greenfield, Schwabe, Williamson &
Wyatt, P.C., Seattle, Washington.
Pursuant to Section I, Paragraph 3(c), Montana Supreme Court
Internal Operating Rules, this case is decided by memorandum
opinion and shall not be cited and does not serve as
precedent. Its case title, cause number, and disposition
shall be included in this Court's quarterly list of
noncitable cases published in the Pacific Reporter and
Trina J. Wolf (Trina) appeals the Final Parenting Plan
ordered by the Eighteenth Judicial District Court, Gallatin
County, on October 16, 2016. The District Court, the
Honorable Brenda R. Gilbert presiding, ordered a Final
Parenting Plan prepared in accordance with the court's
Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order dated July 20,
2016. We affirm.
Trina and Walter E. Wolf (Walter) are the biological parents
of R.W.W., born in October of 2004. The parties' marriage
was dissolved in 2011 and a Final Decree was entered
incorporating the terms of their agreed parenting plan. The
parenting plan provided for parenting to be shared between
the parties. The court appointed Kathleen Rock (GAL Rock) as
guardian ad litem for R.W.W. upon Trina's recommendation
and familiarity with Rock as a guardian ad litem for her
children from a prior marriage.
In January of 2014, GAL Rock became concerned that Trina was
engaging in behaviors detrimental to R.W.W.'s best
interests, such as applying significant pressure on R.W.W. to
lie about his dad to law enforcement personnel, Child and
Family Services (CFS) personnel, and other third parties.
More specifically, GAL Rock related in an affidavit that
Trina took R.W.W. to the Bozeman Police Station and presented
a story of Walter and others plotting during a Thanksgiving
celebration to kill Trina, all in front of R.W.W. Trina
presented the same story to CFS. Upon investigation, the
story turned out to be false. Further, GAL Rock related that
when she saw R.W.W. in January 2014, he was in extreme
distress and presented in a fetal position, with his hood
pulled over his eyes. When GAL Rock asked what was wrong,
R.W.W. repeatedly said that he could not say and that his mom
told him he would go to jail if he did. Eventually, R.W.W.
recounted that Trina had made him lie about the incident.
GAL Rock requested emergency relief from the court and filed
an affidavit detailing her concerns with Trina's
behavior. Trina then sought to have GAL Rock removed as
R.W.W.'s guardian ad litem and was adamantly opposed to
GAL Rock being involved in the proceeding. The District Court
suspended GAL Rock's role as guardian ad litem on
February 13, 2014. Pursuant to § 40-4-215, MCA, the
court appointed Dr. Christopher Hahn to investigate and make
recommendations to the court regarding R.W.W.'s welfare.
Dr. Hahn met with R.W.W. on ten different occasions and
conducted in-home observations in each parent's home. The
court characterized Dr. Hahn's relationship with R.W.W.
as open and trusting. On September 22, 2014, Dr. Hahn issued
a Parenting Investigation Report which the court implemented
on November 6, 2014, as an interim parenting plan. The
interim plan provided that R.W.W. would spend two weeks with
Walter and one week with Trina on a rotating basis, with a
recommendation that, once some deficiencies were met
regarding Trina's parenting, the schedule would move to
alternating weeks between the parents.
On January 7, 8, and 9, 2015, the court conducted a trial on
the request for emergency relief and modification of the
parenting plan. Dr. Hahn had conducted two more interviews of
R.W.W. in December 2014, in order to update the court
regarding any changes since his September recommendation, as
well as to testify concerning the entire period of his
investigation. Dr. Hahn testified that Trina's behavior
had worsened in the past few months and that R.W.W.'s
stress level, clarity, and tolerance for her behavior had
significantly changed. R.W.W. made it clear to Dr. Hahn that
he wanted the court to know his desire was to live with his
father. Dr. Hahn related that R.W.W. said Trina makes him
feel guilty, annoyed, and sad. R.W.W. told Dr. Hahn that his
mother wanted him to lie about his father to law enforcement
and make false reports. R.W.W. said he did not want to be
with his mother until she "gets better" by not
yelling, not making him lie, and by getting control of her
When Dr. Hahn made recommendations contrary to Trina's
wishes, Trina and her attorney issued subpoenas to Dr.
Hahn's licensing board prior to trial. Although the
subpoenas were withdrawn, Trina reissued the subpoenas
several days after conclusion of the trial. The District
Court addressed the matter of the post-hearing subpoena
issued by Trina's counsel by separate order.
Additionally, Trina and her attorney submitted a disciplinary
complaint against Walter's counsel which the District
Court concluded was meritless.
Thereafter, following submission of proposed parenting plans
by the parties, the court ordered on April 21, 2015, a second
interim parenting plan, which continued the schedule of two
weeks with Walter and one week with Trina. The court hoped
that tensions between R.W.W. and Trina would subside and that
the parenting schedule could move towards alternating weeks
with each parent. However, in an effort to deflect stress to
R.W.W. from ongoing litigation, the court appointed a
parenting coordinator, Dr. Michael Butz, to coordinate
therapeutic efforts between the ...