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Simons by and through Simons v. Gisvold

519 N.W.2d 585 (N.D. 1994)

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Simons by and through Simons v. Gisvold

Supreme Court of North Dakota

519 N.W.2d 585 (N.D. 1994)

Facts

Bruce Simons and Joelle Gisvold (plaintiff) were married and had one child, Jessica Simons. Bruce and Joelle divorced soon after Jessica was born. Bruce was awarded custody of Jessica, and Joelle was granted visitation rights. Approximately two years later, Bruce remarried. Bruce then raised Jessica with his new wife, Debra Simons. When Jessica was nine years old, Bruce passed away. Joelle filed a motion seeking custody of Jessica. Debra opposed the motion, arguing that she had lived with and raised Jessica for eight years and was Jessica’s “psychological parent.” Jessica referred to both Joelle and Debra as “mom.” The trial court found both Joelle and Debra to be fit parents. The trial court awarded Joelle custody and awarded Debra visitation rights. Debra appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Sandstrom, J.)

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