This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2006).
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Antonio I. Kartalozi, petitioner,
Filed July 24, 2007
Hennepin County District Court
File No. MF288901
Antonio I. Kartalozi,
Melissa Kartalozi, c/o Tom Fiutak, 5770 West Bald Eagle Boulevard, White Bear Lake, MN 55110 (pro se respondent)
Considered and decided by Randall, Presiding Judge; Klaphake, Judge; and Willis, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
On appeal in this parenting-time dispute, pro se appellant-father argues that (1) the district court abused its discretion by denying his motion for unsupervised parenting time without adequately considering the children’s best interests; (2) the guardian ad litem (GAL) failed to perform her statutory duties properly; and (3) the district court abused its discretion by awarding conduct-based attorney fees to mother. Because the district court did not clearly err by finding that father failed to show that unsupervised parenting time would be in the children’s best interests, the GAL properly performed her duties, and the district court did not abuse its discretion by awarding attorney fees to mother, we affirm.
Mother grew up in
Father petitioned for a divorce, and
Both parties relocated to
The district court, after reviewing the GAL’s recommendations, issued interim orders that (1) denied father’s motion for temporary unsupervised parenting time; (2) ordered weekly supervised parenting time for father with both children; (3) directed both parties to retain individual psychologists; (4) required a parenting evaluation by a psychologist, Dr. Sandra Hewitt; (5) required father to consult with a parenting-reunification therapist; and (6) required father to deposit the older child’s passport with the court.
On August 27, 2005, the district court issued its findings of fact, conclusions of law, and order denying father’s motion for unsupervised parenting time. The court found that unsupervised access was not in the children’s best interests because (1) despite progress in a supervised setting, father’s “parenting was observed to be inappropriate on numerous occasions”; (2) reunification therapy between father and the children had not yet occurred; (3) father had not shown by a preponderance of the evidence that his mental health had improved significantly since the parties’ dissolution; and (4) father had not complied with the order to deposit the older child’s passport with the court. The court also ordered that father’s parenting time could be modified to move gradually from supervised to unsupervised parenting time with supervised exchanges if he: (1) by September 30, 2005, paid the full amount due to Dr. Hewitt for her report and provided a notarized affidavit verifying service of the report on the GAL, the reunification therapist, the director of the supervised-access program, wife’s counsel, and the district court; (2) by September 30, 2005, contacted the reunification therapist and took “all steps necessary to engage in reunification therapy,” at father’s own cost; (3) continued his individual therapy with a psychologist, addressing both his mental-health issues and his history of domestic violence; and (4) surrendered the older child’s passport to the clerk of court.
On February 14, 2006, father filed another motion requesting unsupervised parenting time because “every child has an inalienable right to love, care, and companionship of both parents.” Mother claimed that the request was an unauthorized request for reconsideration and sought conduct-based attorney fees. After a hearing, the district court denied the motion, found that father had failed to comply with the conditions of the August 27, 2005 order, and awarded mother $1,611.75 in attorney fees. This appeal follows.
D E C I S I O N
This court reviews a district
court’s decision on parenting-time issues for an abuse of discretion. Olson
v. Olson, 534 N.W.2d 547, 550 (
Father argues that the district court’s findings are clearly erroneous because the record does not show that unsupervised parenting time would harm his children and because his children are being “punished” by continuing the requirement that he have supervised parenting time only. But the record shows that the district court properly considered evidence of Dr. Hewitt’s concerns regarding father’s bonding issues with the children and father’s failure to attend therapy consistently to address concerns regarding his mental health. Dr. Hewitt reported that, based on her observations, “several issues . . . must be dealt with before [extended, unsupervised] contact can be in place.” The issues include the “significant concern[s]” about father’s favoritism of the older child over the younger child and his inability “to complete the parent interview about [the younger child] because he stated that he does not know her.” Dr. Hewitt reported that “[t]his problem will need long and careful work as it represents a complex issue not easily solved.”
In addition, the district court noted father’s failure to continue meeting with his psychologist on a timely basis for individual therapy and found that continued therapy is especially important in light of father’s diagnosis of narcissistic disorder and “his history of committing extreme domestic violence against [mother] and the children.” Therefore, based on father’s failure to meet the conditions of the court’s previous order, the district court reasonably found that father failed to sustain his burden of showing that unsupervised parenting time would be in the children’s best interests.
Father argues that he was not allowed
to contest the methodology that Dr. Hewitt used in preparing her report and
that he followed the terms of the August 27 order, except for the deadlines
ordered by the court and the direction that father pay Dr. Hewitt, which he claims
that he could not afford to do. This
court defers to the credibility determinations of the district court. See
Sefkow v. Sefkow, 427 N.W.2d 203,
Father argues that the court failed
to take the children’s best interests into account when it ordered supervised parenting
time, which he believes to be harmful to the children. Father also maintains that the district court
ignored both father’s completion of an anger-management class in
Father also asserts that the
court-appointed GAL “has not shown any true interest in what would be the best
interest of the children” and did not perform the statutory duties of her
Father argues finally that the
district court abused its discretion by awarding conduct-based attorney fees to
mother. The district court may assess
attorney fees against a party “who unreasonably contributes to the length and
expense of the proceeding.”
Because the record shows that father brought an additional motion to modify the district court’s parenting-time order without complying with the terms of the court’s previous order, the district court did not abuse its discretion by assessing conduct-based attorney fees against father.
Fathermoves to strike portions of mother’s brief as beyond the
record on appeal. “Appellate courts may
not consider matters outside the record on appeal and will strike references to
such matters from the parties’ briefs.” Brodsky
v. Brodsky, 733 N.W.2d 471, 479 (
Affirmed; motion denied.