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In re Parenting of L.G.L.

Supreme Court of Montana

December 19, 2018

IN RE THE PARENTING OF: L.G.L., a minor child, NELSON LUKE OYLER, Petitioner and Appellee, And LYNDSEY LALICKER, Respondent and Appellant.

          Submitted on Briefs: December 19, 2018

          APPEAL FROM: District Court of the Eighteenth Judicial District, In and For the County of Gallatin, Cause No. DR 14-172B Honorable Rienne McElyea, Presiding Judge

          For Appellant: Kevin S. Brown, Paoli & Brown, P.C., Livingston, Montana

          For Appellee: Margaret Sullivan Braun, Bridger Law, Bozeman, Montana

          OPINION

          JAMES JEREMIAH SHEA JUSTICE

         ¶1 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 Montana Reports.

         ¶2 Lyndsey Lalicker (Mother) appeals the Order of the Eighteenth Judicial District Court, Gallatin County, denying her Notice of Objections to the Standing Master's Order of Protection. We affirm.

         ¶3 This is the second appeal concerning Mother and Nelson Luke Oyler (Father) regarding the custody of their minor child, L.G.L. The facts underlying the parenting plan action that precedes this matter are detailed in this Court's previous opinion, which affirmed an award of parenting time to Father under the parenting plan.[1]

         ¶4 On April 14, 2018, a Missing Endangered Person Advisory was circulated by the Montana Department of Justice seeking information on the location of L.G.L., suspecting Mother of absconding with the minor child, after Mother failed to exchange custody of L.G.L. with Father as ordered by the parenting plan. The State of Montana filed a felony custodial interference charge against Mother and an arrest warrant was issued. Mother was arrested shortly after in Salmon, Idaho. L.G.L. was later found in Dillon, Montana in the care of her maternal grandfather.

         ¶5 On April 16, 2018, Father applied to the District Court for a temporary order of protection against Mother on behalf of L.G.L. and himself. On May 2, 2018, the Standing Master held a hearing, received testimony from Gallatin County Detective Sergeant Jeremy Kopp, Mother, and Father, and issued her findings orally. On May 3, 2018, the Standing Master signed a written Order of Protection, allowing Mother supervised parenting with L.G.L. twice a week for up to three hours. The Standing Master issued that the Order of Protection be in place until May 2019, or, if Mother obtained final disposition of her custodial interference charge, either party could petition the District Court for a modification of the Order of Protection.

         ¶6 On May 10, 2018, Mother filed her Notice of Objections to the Standing Master's Order of Protection. On July 13, 2018, the District Court held a hearing on the Notice of Objections. On August 23, 2018, the District Court denied Mother's Notice of Objections to the Order of Protection. Mother appeals.

         ¶7 We review de novo a district court's decision to adopt a standing master's report to determine whether it applied the correct standards of review to the standing master's findings of fact and conclusions of law. Patton v. Patton, 2015 MT 7, ¶ 17, 378 Mont. 22, 340 P.3d 1242 (citing In re G.J.A., 2014 MT 215, ¶ 11, 376 Mont. 212, 331 P.3d 835). Upon a properly made objection, a district court reviews a standing master's findings of fact for clear error. In re Marriage of Kostelnik, 2015 MT 283, ¶¶ 14-15, 381 Mont. 182, 357 P.3d 912. "As to evidence taken by a standing master . . . a district court may not modify or reject the master's findings by substituting its own view of the evidence for that of the master." In re G.J.A., ¶ 19.

         ¶8 A district court may continue, amend, or make permanent a temporary order of protection upon a showing of good cause, and this Court will not overturn a district court's decision absent an abuse of discretion. Boushie v. Windsor, 2014 MT 153, ¶ 8, 375 Mont. 301, 328 P.3d 631 (citation omitted); Schiller v. Schiller, 2002 MT 103, ¶ 24, 309 Mont. 431, 47 P.3d 816. A district court abuses its discretion when it acts arbitrarily without ...


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