Supreme Court of North Dakota
777 N.W.2d 606 (N.D. 2010)
Katherine Edwards (plaintiff) and Robert Edwards (defendant) were married, but divorced in September 1996. In December 1996, Katherine gave birth to a child, K.A.E. Robert was not K.A.E.’s natural father. In September 1997, Katherine and Robert married again. K.A.E. lived with Katherine and Robert and had very little contact with her natural father. In 2008, Katherine and Robert divorced again. In the divorce decree, the district court found that Robert was a good father to K.A.E. and was the only father that K.A.E. had ever known. The district court awarded Robert visitation rights and an equal role in making major decisions in K.A.E.’s life, such as those related to education, healthcare, and religion. In doing so, the district court held that if there were ever a disagreement over such matters, Katherine would be entitled to make the ultimate decision. Finally, the district court also held that Robert’s parental rights were subservient to those of K.A.E.’s natural father. Katherine appealed, arguing, among other things, that the district court erred by granting Robert parental rights without making a finding that Robert was K.A.E.’s psychological parent.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Sandstrom, J.)
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