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In re Aljubailah

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

October 23, 2017

In re the Matter of: Shadiyah K. Aljubailah for herself and on behalf of A. M. J., petitioner, Respondent,
v.
Aaron James, Appellant.

         Hennepin County District Court File No. 27-DA-FA-16-7394

          Shadiyah K. Aljubailah (pro se respondent)

          Jennifer M. Moore, Moore Family Law, PA, Plymouth, Minnesota (for appellant)

          Considered and decided by Reyes, Presiding Judge; Schellhas, Judge; and Stauber, Judge.

         SYLLABUS

         The district court is not required to make custody findings pursuant to Minnesota Statutes section 518.17 (2016), when ordering temporary custody and parenting time in conjunction with an order for protection (OFP) under Minnesota Statutes section 518B.01 (2016).

          OPINION

          STAUBER, JUDGE. [*]

         Appellant-father challenges the district court's order for protection (OFP) issued against him for the benefit of respondent-mother and the parties' child, and the order for temporary sole legal and physical custody granted in conjunction with that proceeding. Because the district court did not abuse its discretion by issuing the OFP as to both mother and child, did not improperly prevent father's attorney from questioning mother, and did not err by ordering temporary legal and physical custody without making custody findings under Minnesota Statutes section 518.17, we affirm.

         FACTS

         Shadiyah Aljubailah and Aaron James are the parents of a child, A.J., who was born in 2009. The parties have had a lengthy involvement with the district court and family court services regarding custody and parenting-time issues. Since 2011 family and court service personnel have expressed serious concerns about mother's chemical-health issues. In March 2013, after an evidentiary hearing, the district court granted sole legal and physical custody to father, subject to mother's reasonable parenting time, which was conditioned on her abstinence from alcohol and mood-altering drugs and submitting to hair-follicle testing. Following a 2014 hearing, the district court ordered mother to submit to another hair-follicle test, to complete a rule 25 assessment, and to have supervised parenting time in a public setting.

         On October 24, 2016, mother filed a pro se petition for an emergency OFP, alleging that A.J. had (1) shown her bruises on his leg, which he stated were inflicted by his father, and (2) when mother confronted father about the child's report of abuse, he shoved her with such force that she fell backwards into a table and she feared for her and A.J.'s safety. The district court granted an ex parte emergency OFP as to both mother and A.J.

         At an evidentiary hearing on the petition, mother testified that A.J. had indicated that father "[w]hooped" him with a belt when A.J. unintentionally woke father from a nap on October 16, 2016. She testified that when she went to drop A.J. off at father's home, she asked him why he had hit the child, and father told her to "get the f--k out of the house" and that she would "never see [her] son again, " and he "became enraged" and shoved her. She introduced evidence in the form of photographs of A.J.'s bruises, which she stated were taken on October 14, 2016, and also photographs of her own bruises taken a week after the incident.

         Mother also testified that in 2015, father told her that in order to have overnight visits with A.J., she had to have sex with father, which she did, and he apparently made a video which he threatened to release if she did not continue a sexual relationship with him. She testified that she was fearful for herself and A.J., that father had previous domestic-abuse convictions, and that she had concerns about father's chemical use.

         Father testified that the photographs of A.J. submitted by mother were not taken in October, 2016, but in June, because there was green grass in the background. Father testified that A.J.'s bruises were caused when he spanked him and A.J. "jumped and got hit with" the belt. He testified that he had spanked A.J. with a belt because A.J. had lied, but that he did not hit A.J. hard and that A.J. bruises very ...


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