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In re the Parenting of CJ

In re the Parenting of CJ, 2016 MT 93 (April 20, 2016) (Baker, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the evidence supported the district court’s finding that mother did not interfere with father’s relationship with child, and (2) whether the district court erred in holding that father had a “heavy burden” to show that his proposed restriction on mother’s relocation to Vermont was consistent with the best interests of their child.

Short Answer: (1) Yes, and (2) no.


Facts: CJ was born to Matthew and Stevi in 2012. Stevi is married to Tom, and the couple has a minor child. Matthew lives in Livingston with his partner, who was pregnant with the couple’s child at the time of the final parenting plan hearing.…

In re the Parenting of MC

In re the Parenting of MC, 2015 MT 57 (Feb. 24, 2015) (McKinnon, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: Whether the district court violated mother’s fundamental right to travel by ordering that parties’ minor child should reside in Montana.

Short Answer: No.


Facts: MC was born to Pirkle and Mitchell Collie in Missoula in 2012, and lived there until March 2013 with her parents, who were not married. Pirkle was from Ohio, and moved here to attend the university. She had difficulty finding work after MC was born, and was MC’s primary caregiver.

In March 2013, Pirkle took MC to Ohio to attend a family wedding. After several reasons for not returning, Pirkle told Collie in April 2013 that she and MC were going to stay in Ohio.…