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Coleman v. Lutnes

Court of Appeals of Nebraska

July 2, 2013

Weston L. Coleman, appellee,
v.
Ann Lutnes, appellant.

NOT DESIGNATED FOR PERMANENT PUBLICATION

Appeal from the District Court for Box Butte County: Travis P. O'Gorman, Judge.

Leonard G. Tabor for appellant.

A. James Moravek, of Curtiss, Moravek & Curtiss, P.C., L.L.O., for appellee.

Inbody, Chief Judge, and Irwin and Moore, Judges.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND JUDGMENT ON APPEAL

Inbody, Chief Judge.

INTRODUCTION

Ann Lutnes appeals the determination of the Box Butte County District Court modifying the parties' custody agreement by awarding Weston L. Coleman legal and physical custody of the parties' minor child. The court further denied Lutnes' request to remove the minor child to Virginia and ordered her to pay child support. Because we cannot say that the district court abused its discretion in these determinations, we affirm.

STATEMENT OF FACTS

Coleman and Lutnes were previously involved in a relationship from which a minor child, Emily Coleman, was born in August 2008. Not long after, the parties separated and Coleman filed a complaint to establish paternity in order to retain visitation with Emily after Lutnes took a trip to visit her father in North Dakota and did not return to Nebraska. During the proceedings, Lutnes was found in willful contempt for denying Coleman visitation.

Thereafter, the parties stipulated to the issues of custody, visitation, and child support. Lutnes was awarded physical custody of Emily, and Coleman was awarded 2 weeks of visitation each month, in addition to other visitations during holidays and the summer months. Lutnes and Coleman met in South Dakota to exchange Emily for visitation. Coleman agreed to pay $510 per month in child support, and a child support worksheet calculation was attached to the stipulation.

In May 2011, Lutnes filed a motion to modify previous court orders, alleging that there had been a material change in circumstances and also requesting permission to remove Emily from North Dakota to Virginia. Coleman filed an answer denying Lutnes' allegations and counterclaiming for the legal and physical custody of Emily, for the court to deny Lutnes' request to remove Emily, and for child support. Coleman alleged that Lutnes was again denying visitations with Emily. In September 2012, trial was held on motions, during which numerous witnesses testified. At the time of the trial, Emily was 4 years old.

Lutnes testified that she was currently employed as a drill pipe inspector for the oil industry and lives in Williston, North Dakota. Lutnes has been employed with a company for 1 year and earned approximately $17 per hour. In the past 4 years, Lutnes had been employed at four different jobs and had three different physical residences. Lutnes testified that, on average, at her current employment, she works 16 hours a day, 7 days a week. Lutnes resides in a 1-bedroom apartment provided by the company. The apartment is one facility, split into two separate living areas, and Lutnes testified that she has a male roommate who lives in the other area, but that they work different shifts and rarely see each other. On cross-examination, Lutnes mentioned that she had previously dated this roommate, but that he was not her boyfriend. Lutnes pays no rent or utilities at the company residence. Emily does not live with Lutnes because of her work schedule and because company policy does not allow it. Lutnes explained that Emily will spend the night with her over the weekends and on days that Lutnes is sick and unable to work.

Lutnes explained that she requested permission to leave North Dakota and move to Virginia with Emily in order to find better employment and spend more time with Emily, although if denied her request to move, she would not attempt to find different employment in North Dakota. Lutnes testified that she would agree to split transportation costs with Coleman if she were allowed to move, although she ...


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