O'Hara v. Schneider

897 N.W.2d 326 (2017)

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O'Hara v. Schneider

North Dakota Supreme Court
897 N.W.2d 326 (2017)

Facts

In 2014 Keaton O’Hara (plaintiff) and Keanna Schneider (defendant) had a daughter together. By December 2015, O’Hara and Schneider were no longer romantically involved but entered into a parenting-plan agreement to share childcare responsibilities. In 2016 O’Hara punched Schneider and was charged with aggravated assault. Schneider obtained a domestic-violence restraining order. Schneider also moved for the trial court to modify the parenting plan so that O’Hara would be permitted only supervised visits with their daughter. The trial court held a hearing on the matter but excluded any evidence of O’Hara’s violence prior to the parenting-plan agreement. After the hearing, the trial court denied Schneider’s request to modify the parenting plan on the ground that O’Hara had committed domestic violence against Schneider but not their daughter. Schneider appealed. The North Dakota Supreme Court reversed on the ground that the trial court had misapplied the law and remanded the case. The trial court held a second evidentiary hearing. O’Hara introduced an affidavit from his counselor stating that O’Hara had been treated for anger management. O’Hara also introduced affidavits from witnesses testifying to the close bond O’Hara had with his daughter. The trial court held that the assault charge constituted a material change in circumstances, which was necessary for a parenting-plan modification, but concluded that allowing O’Hara unsupervised visits was in the daughter’s best interests. Schneider appealed on the ground that the court erred by holding a secondary evidentiary hearing and by relying on O’Hara’s treatment for anger management. The North Dakota Supreme Court reviewed the case.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Tufte, J.)

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