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Shandera v. Schultz

Court of Appeals of Nebraska

January 19, 2016

DONALD L. SHANDERA III, FATHER OF THE MINOR CHILD AUSTYN M. SHANDERA, APPELLEE,
v.
KAITLYN ANN SCHULTZ, APPELLANT

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Appeal from the District Court for Washington County: JOHN E. SAMSON, Judge.

Karen S. Nelson, of Schirber & Wagner, L.L.P., for appellant.

Kelly T. Shattuck, of Vacanti Shattuck, for appellee.

PIRTLE, RIEDMANN, and BISHOP, Judges.

OPINION

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[23 Neb.App. 523] Pirtle, Judge.

INTRODUCTION

Kaitlyn Ann Schultz (Kaitlyn) appeals from an order of the district court for Washington County finding that Donald L. Shandera III is the biological father of Austyn M. Shandera and awarding custody of Austyn to Donald. Based on the reasons that follow, we affirm.

BACKGROUND

Kaitlyn and Donald were in a relationship and began living together in April 2010. In October 2012, Kaitlyn felt the relationship was no longer working and she moved out. She subsequently became pregnant and moved back in with Donald in May 2013. Austyn was born in August 2013.

Over Thanksgiving 2013, Kaitlyn went to visit her mother in Georgia, and upon returning, she ended her relationship with Donald and she and Austyn moved out of Donald's home. On December 4, Kaitlyn moved her belongings out of Donald's home. Kaitlyn then moved to Texas with Austyn, where they continued to live at the time of trial.

On December 9, 2013, Donald filed a petition to establish paternity and custody. A temporary order was entered on May 28, 2014, allowing Kaitlyn to stay in Texas pending trial and granting Donald five 2-week blocks of parenting time before the trial date.

Trial was held on September 3, 2014. Both parties testified, as well as several

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other witnesses. Donald testified that Kaitlyn had talked to him about moving with Austyn to Texas, but that he did not agree to the move, because he did not want Austyn [23 Neb.App. 524] to leave. Kaitlyn told Donald and friends that she was leaving Nebraska to get a better job and better housing. Further, she told Donald that she had a job in Texas that was going to pay $35 an hour, but this turned out not to be true.

When Kaitlyn went on maternity leave, she was working at a nursing home in Omaha, Nebraska, making $18.22 an hour. When she went back to work in October 2013, she started working for a different nursing home located in Blair, Nebraska. She took a pay cut, earning $17 per hour, but it allowed her to be closer to Austyn because she no longer had to drive to Omaha. She worked from 2 to 10 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. On the days she worked, she would take Austyn to daycare around 1:30 p.m. and Donald would pick her up around 6 p.m. Kaitlyn testified that on Tuesdays and Thursdays, she was the sole caregiver for Austyn until around 10 p.m. because Donald was taking college classes on those days after work. Kaitlyn testified that she was primarily responsible for feeding Austyn, changing diapers, clothing and bathing Austyn, attending doctor appointments, and putting Austyn down for naps. Kaitlyn also testified that she was often the primary caregiver on the weekends, because Donald was helping his family with harvesting.

Donald testified that while Kaitlyn was on maternity leave, he would routinely wake up each morning with Austyn and give her a bottle before he went to work and would put her to bed almost every night. When he got home from work, he would spend time with Austyn. Donald testified that when Kaitlyn went back to work after maternity leave and was working until 10 p.m., he would pick up Austyn from daycare around 6 p.m. and take care of her the rest of the evening. Kaitlyn acknowledged that Donald was a good father ...


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