Olson v. Olson

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Olson v. Olson

Case Number
Call Date
September 10, 2019
Case Time
9:30 AM
Case Summary

Case Number: A-18-1210

Court Number: Polk

Call Date: September 10, 2019

Case Time: 9:30 AM

Case Location: Concordia University

Case Summary

A-18-1210, Andrew J. Olson v. Kirsti M. Olson (Appellant)

District Court for Polk County, District Judge Rachel A. Daugherty

Attorney for Appellant: Eddy M. Rodell (Rodell Law Office)

Attorney for Appellee: Steffanie J. Garner Kotik (Kotik & McClure Attorneys at Law, LLC)

Civil Action: Child Custody


            Andrew Olson (Appellee) and Kirsti Olson (Appellant) were married in 2003 in Minneapolis, Minnesota and had one child by marriage, Lukas, who was born in 2004. In 2007 or 2008, Andrew and Kirsti separated, but remained legally married. Shortly after the separation, Kirsti moved to Nebraska with Lukas, while Andrew remained in Minnesota. In 2017, Andrew filed a complaint seeking dissolution of the parties’ marriage, division of property, and custody of Lukas. Kirsti filed an answer and counterclaim seeking both temporary and permanent custody of Lukas, child support, and alimony.

            Trial was held on the matter in November 2018. The evidence showed that both Kirsti and Andrew were fit parents, but that Lukas preferred to live with his father in Minnesota. There was testimony that Kirsti’s home was often cluttered and that the animals that lived there would occasionally urinate on Lukas’s mattress and clothing. Kirsti testified that Lukas was healthy, doing better in school after she had home-schooled him, and had been in her care for 10 years. Lukas testified that he believed his current living situation with Kirsti was “hazardous” due to the animals and clutter, and that he believed his father could provide a better living environment.

            After hearing the testimony, the trial judge determined that it would be in the best interests of Lukas if Andrew was granted custody and permitted to move Lukas with him to Minnesota. The trial judge also modified the parties’ proposed parenting plan by crossing off the portion of the plan providing Kirsti with extended summer parenting time in even-numbered years, leaving her with extended parenting time only in odd-numbered years.

On appeal, Kirsti argues that the district court erred in awarding Andrew sole physical custody. She primarily argues that the court improperly rested a majority of its decision on the desires and wishes of Lukas and the condition of her home, and failed to adequately consider the fact that Lukas was healthy, doing well in school, and had been in her care for the last 10 years. Kirsti also argues that the district court erred in allowing Andrew to remove Lukas from Nebraska to Minnesota without conducting a proper Farnsworth removal analysis in its consideration of the best interests of the child. Finally, Kirsti argues that the district court abused its discretion in unilaterally modifying the proposed parenting plan, without explanation, and refusing to allow her extended summer parenting time every year. Neither party disputes this final assignment of error.

Action Taken by Trial Court:

The district court granted Andrew sole physical custody of the minor child, and granted him permission to remove the child from the state of Nebraska. The district court also modified the proposed parenting plan, granting Kirsti certain parenting time.

Assignments of Error on Appeal:

            Kirsti asserts the district court erred by 1) granting Andrew sole physical custody of the minor child; 2) allowing Andrew to remove the child from the state of Nebraska without performing a Farnsworth removal analysis; and 3) only allowing her extended summer parenting time in odd-numbered years, rather than every year.

Case Location
Concordia University
Court Type
District Court
Schedule Code
Panel Text
Moore, Chief Judge, Pirtle and Welch, Judges