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Bohnet v. Bohnet

Court of Appeals of Nebraska

April 14, 2015

EVAN L. BOHNET, APPELLEE,
v.
KATHERINE A. BOHNET, NOW KNOWN AS KATHERINE A. BALERUD, APPELLANT

Page 100

Appeal from the District Court for Lancaster County: ANDREW R. JACOBSEN, Judge.

Terrance A. Poppe and Andrew K. Joyce, Senior Certified Law Student, of Morrow, Poppe, Watermeier & Lonowski, P.C., L.L.O., for appellant.

Peter C. Wegman and Jesse S. Krause, of Rembolt Ludtke, L.L.P., for appellee.

IRWIN, RIEDMANN, and BISHOP, Judges.

OPINION

Page 101

Bishop, Judge.

The only issue raised in this modification of custody appeal is whether the analysis required when a parent seeks to relocate with a minor child from Nebraska to another state also applies to intrastate moves. Specifically, does Farnsworth v. Farnsworth, 257 Neb. 242, 597 N.W.2d 592 (1999), apply [22 Neb.App. 847] when a move within Nebraska creates a distance of 148 miles between parental households and therefore requires modification to an existing parenting plan. We conclude that while some of the longer distance moves within the state might benefit from a more thorough removal analysis as set forth in Farnsworth, we decline to require it until such time as the Legislature or our Supreme Court directs us to do so. Further, finding no abuse of discretion in the district court's modification order, we affirm.

BACKGROUND

Katherine A. Bohnet, now known as Katherine A. Balerud (Katie), and Evan L. Bohnet are the parents of Madelynn Bohnet (Maddie), born in 2008. Katie became pregnant with Maddie at age 16 while a junior in high school in Columbus, Nebraska. After graduating from high school in 2009, Katie commenced her college education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Evan had graduated from Columbus High School in 2008, and he also attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Katie and Evan were married on July 24, 2010; Evan filed for divorce in June 2011. The parties both signed a property settlement agreement and parenting plan, and on September 15, the Lancaster County District Court entered an order dissolving their marriage. Legal custody of Maddie was awarded jointly to the parties, and physical custody was awarded to Evan subject to Katie's reasonable parenting time. The parenting plan agreed upon at that time provided for a " 9/5 parenting time" schedule, which gave Katie parenting time with Maddie every other Thursday afternoon to the following Monday morning, and during the " off" weeks, parenting time from Thursday afternoon until Friday morning. The parties also agreed to alternate weeks during the summer.

Upon Evan's graduation in May 2013 with a degree in " [s]econdary math" (grades 7 through 12), he accepted a teaching position in South Sioux City, Nebraska, about 148 miles away from Lincoln, Nebraska, where Katie still resided. On May 13, Katie filed a " Complaint for Modification of Decree and Praecipe," wherein she alleged a material and substantial change of circumstances had occurred since the entry [22 Neb.App. 848] of the decree in that Evan had accepted a job in South Sioux City, that he was planning to move there, and that this would make it impossible for her to exercise her parenting time as set forth in the decree. Katie requested custody of Maddie, and she asked for orders pertaining to parenting time, child support, and attorney fees. Trial was held September 16, 17, and 20.

At trial, Evan testified that he looked for work in Lincoln but that nothing was available, so he gradually expanded his search radius and received the job offer

Page 102

from South Sioux City Community Schools. Evan claimed that he was offered the job in mid-April 2013 and that he talked with Katie about it the first week of May before signing a contract. At the time of trial, he was an " 8th grade math teacher" earning $33,500 per year. Evan purchased a home in South Sioux City with help from his parents on the downpayment, and Maddie started kindergarten at Cardinal Elementary School (Cardinal) in South Sioux City, which school is located four to six blocks from Evan's home. Katie testified that Maddie's ...


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