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In re Custody of Minor Children of Riess

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

July 22, 2013

In the Matter of the Custody of the Minor Children of: Crystal Sue Riess, petitioner, Respondent,
v.
Ross Harrison Navratil, Appellant.

UNPUBLISHED OPINION

Wabasha County District Court File No. 79-FA-10-251

Crysta L. Parkin, Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services, Rochester, Minnesota (for respondent)

Ross Harrison Navratil, Rochester, Minnesota (pro se appellant)

Considered and decided by Bjorkman, Presiding Judge; Ross, Judge; and Kirk, Judge.

ROSS, Judge

A father appeals after remand challenging the district court's refusal to modify a child-custody order. Ross Navratil argues that the district court erred by failing to accept his allegations as true, by finding that he failed to make a prima facie case for custody modification, and by refusing to conduct an evidentiary hearing. Because Navratil failed to make a prima facie case to warrant a custody modification, we affirm.

FACTS

Ross Navratil and Crystal Riess were in a romantic relationship from September 2003 until early 2009. They had three children together. Riess moved the district court to appoint her as sole legal and physical custodian of their children. The district court granted Riess temporary sole custody, subject to Navratil's parenting time. The custody issues went to trial and the district court ordered Navratil's parenting time to include every other weekend with additional time during summer and winter school break.

One of the parties' children, C.N., was soon allegedly sexually assaulted by Riess's neighbor. Riess claimed that C.N. reported being inappropriately touched after she returned from visiting a park with a neighbor boy and his father. Riess immediately contacted both the police and Navratil. The neighbor was not criminally charged, but Riess did obtain an order for protection against him and moved to a new home.

The district court entered a supplemental custody order granting the parties joint legal custody and establishing a parenting-time schedule for holidays. The record does not indicate whether the district court knew of or considered the alleged assault when it made this ruling.

After ten months, Navratil moved to modify the custody order, alleging child endangerment. He asserted by affidavit that Riess inadequately supervises and cares for the children, entrusts the children to unsuitable caregivers, and maintains an unhealthy home environment. The district court tersely denied Navratil's motion "in all respects, " and he appealed to this court.

We reversed and remanded the case to the district court to provide findings and an analysis. Riess v. Navratil, No. A11-1940, 2012 WL 2505844, at *1 (Minn.App. July 2, 2012). The district court followed the remand instructions and issued an order denying Navratil's motion to modify custody without an evidentiary hearing. This order ...


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