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Durfee v. Durfee

January 27, 2009

JILL L. DURFEE, APPELLANT (DEFENDANT/PETITIONER),
v.
CHRISTOPHER R. DURFEE, APPELLEE (PLAINTIFF/RESPONDENT).



Appeal from the District Court of Weston County The Honorable John R. Perry, Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Golden, Justice.

Before VOIGT, C.J., and GOLDEN, HILL, KITE, BURKE, JJ.

[¶1] Jill Durfee (Mother) challenges the district court's order which denied her petition to modify the parties' divorce decree that awarded Christopher Durfee (Father) primary physical custody of their two children. The order also granted Father's petition to modify Mother's child support obligation and ordered Mother to pay half of Father's attorney fees and costs. We affirm.

ISSUES

[¶2] Mother presents the following issues:

1. Whether the District Court erred when it denied Appellant's Petition for Modification of Child Custody and Child Support.

2. Whether the District Court erred when it granted Appellee's Petition for Modification of Child Support.

3. Whether the District Court erred when it awarded Appellee one-half of his attorney's fees and costs.

FACTS

[¶3] Father and Mother were married in September 2000. The marriage produced two sons, GD and BD. In May 2005, after the parties reached a settlement agreement concerning custody, support, and the division of the marital property, Father filed for divorce. The divorce decree was entered on July 21, 2005. Consistent with the parties' agreement, the divorce decree awarded Father primary physical custody of the children, subject to reasonable and liberal visitation by Mother, and ordered Mother to pay monthly child support.

[¶4] After the divorce, Father's and Mother's lives underwent some changes. Father remarried and now lives with the children, his new wife, and her three children from a previous marriage in a four bedroom home in Upton, Wyoming. Mother also remarried and now lives in Belle Fourche, South Dakota, with her new husband and their eleven-month-old daughter.

[¶5] On September 21, 2006, alleging materially changed circumstances, Mother filed a petition to modify the custody and child support provisions of the divorce decree, requesting primary custody of the children be given to her. On November 3, 2006, Father filed a petition to modify child support, requesting an increase in Mother's child support obligation. The district court conducted a hearing on October 18 and December 12, 2007, during which it entertained testimony and other evidence from both parties. The district court ultimately denied Mother's petition, concluding that Mother failed to establish a material change in circumstances justifying a modification of the original custody order. The district court increased Mother's monthly child support obligation and ordered her to pay fifty percent of Father's attorney fees and costs. This appeal followed.

DISCUSSION

Custody ...


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