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JS v. MB

August 10, 2010

JS, APPELLANT (PETITIONER),
v.
MB, APPELLEE (RESPONDENT).



Appeal from the District Court of Natrona County, The Honorable Scott W. Skavdahl, Judge.

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

Before KITE, C.J., and GOLDEN, HILL, VOIGT*fn1, and BURKE, JJ.

HILL, J., delivers the opinion of the Court; KITE, C.J., files a specially concurring opinion.

[¶1]Appellant, JS ("Father"), challenges the district court‟s order requiring the parties to exchange child visitation on a weekly basis when the child reaches age five in 2013. We affirm the district court.

ISSUE

[¶2] Father lists one issue:

Was the district court‟s Order Regarding Custody, Visitation, and Support ordering the parties to alternate weeks with the child beginning at age 5, an abuse of discretion that does not serve the child‟s best interests?

FACTS

[¶3] In 2007, Appellee, MB ("Mother"), and Father were involved in a relationship and conceived a child. During Mother‟s pregnancy, the relationship ended. The parties‟ son was born in 2008. On August 12, 2008, Father filed an action to establish paternity and sought custody of his son.

[¶4] A two-day trial was held, the first day on March 12, 2009, and the second on May 22, 2009. After the first day, the court entered an order establishing paternity and giving temporary custody to Mother. After the second day, the court awarded Father "primary legal and physical custody" of the parties‟ son. Mother was awarded visitation, which begins every Saturday at 9 a.m. and ends on Tuesdays at 6 p.m. The order provided that, "[w]hen the child attains 5 years of age, the mother and father shall alternate weeks with the mother and father exchanging the child on Sundays at 5:00 p.m." Father appealed, challenging only this provision of the order.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

[¶5] We review a district court‟s custody determination according to the following standards:

Child custody decisions are within the sound discretion of the trial court.

It has been our consistent principle that in custody matters, the welfare and needs of the children are to be given paramount consideration. The determination of the best interests of the child is a question for the trier of fact. We do not overturn the decision of the trial court unless we are persuaded of ...


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