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In re Marriage of Medvedovski

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

November 6, 2017

In re the Marriage of: Dmitri M. Medvedovski, petitioner, Appellant,
v.
Nadezhda Ivanovna Medvedovski, Respondent.

         Hennepin County District Court File No. 27-FA-12-2889

          Dmitri M. Medvedovski, St. Paul, Minnesota (pro se appellant)

          John DeWalt, DeWalt, Chawla Saksena, LLC, Minneapolis, Minnesota (for respondent)

          Considered and decided by Connolly, Presiding Judge; Ross, Judge; and Schellhas, Judge.

         SYLLABUS

         A custody-modification motion filed within two years after disposition of a prior motion on its merits is procedurally barred under Minn. Stat. § 518.18(b) (2016), unless the court finds the existence of persistent and willful denial or interference with parenting time, or the court has reason to believe that the child's present environment may endanger the child's physical or emotional health or impair the child's emotional development.

          OPINION

          SCHELLHAS, JUDGE

         Appellant-father challenges the district court's denial of his custody-modification motion, arguing that the court abused its discretion by ruling on his motion without an evidentiary hearing. Because father's motion is procedurally barred under Minn. Stat. § 518.18(b) (2016), we affirm.

         FACTS

         Appellant Dmitri Medvedovski (father) appeals from a May 15, 2017 order in which the district court noted that "[t]his case has been the subject of much litigation since its inception in 2007." That is an understatement. This case has a tortured history that involves extensive litigation and court involvement.

         Father and respondent Nadezhda Medvedovski (mother) married in October 2003 and had two daughters, S.M., born in August 2005, and K.M., born in August 2006. The parties separated in 2007, after mother alleged domestic violence by father and sought an order for protection (OFP). Medvedovski v. Medvedovski, No. A09-2078, 2010 WL 2900321, at *1 (Minn.App. July 27, 2010), review denied (Minn. Sept. 29, 2010). Father "denied any physical altercation, but resolved the pending order-for-protection proceeding by agreeing to a no-contact order, granting [mother] temporary sole physical custody of the children, allowing supervised visitation, and agreeing to the appointment of a guardian ad litem." Id. Father's supervised parenting time ended in July 2008, but mother's "no-contact order" continued. Id. In December 2008, mother sought and obtained an OFP on behalf of the children, claiming that father had engaged in sexual contact with S.M. Id. Father denied any sexual contact with S.M. Id. An "ensuing investigation was inconclusive." Id.

         In September 2009, the district court dismissed the OFP, dissolved the parties' marriage, and granted mother sole legal and physical custody of the children. The court reserved parenting time "pending further order of the court, " based on its finding that the children's best interests were served by having no parenting time with father "until such time as the appropriateness of reunification is determined and a plan for reunification is advanced." Father appealed, and this court affirmed, modifying only the district court's inadvertent double counting of dissipated assets as it applied to the division of the parties' property. Id. at *3. The record reflects that father's parenting time and contact with his children has been substantially restricted since 2007, although the record appears to be void of any investigatory determination or judicial finding that father has ever abused his children.

         In October 2014, October 2015, and April 2016, father moved for sole legal and physical custody of the children.[1] The district court denied each motion. In February 2017, within two years of father's prior custody-modification motion, father again moved for sole legal and physical custody of the children on the basis of endangerment and interference with his parenting time. The court noted that father's arguments were the same arguments addressed in the three prior orders filed by the district court and did not find that "there [wa]s a persistent and willful denial or interference with parenting time, or [that] the court ha[d] reason to believe that the child[ren]'s present environment may endanger the child[ren]'s physical or emotional health or impair the child[ren]'s ...


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